2014 Statistics: 33.1 IP, 8.10 K/9, 4.86 BB/9, 0.54 HR/9, 5.67 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 1.65 WHIP, 0.4 fWAR
2015 Age: Will be 31 on 7/26
Position: Right-handed reliever/starting pitcher
After experiencing several seasons shortened by injuries, the Blue Jays decided not to pick up Brandon Morrow's $10 million option for 2015, thus making him a free agent. He only pitched for one month of the 2014 season before he ended up on the 60-day DL with a torn tendon sheath in his right hand. Prior to the injury he made six starts in the rotation with a 1.72 WHIP, 5.93 ERA, 8.56 K/9, and 5.60 BB/9 (amounting to walking 17 batters in 27.1 innings). Morrow remained on the DL until September, and when he was finally activated, he was sent to the bullpen where he only pitched six innings. Morrow did have some good seasons with the Blue Jays as a starter, particularly 2010 and 2011 when his K/9 was over 10. His career numbers show that he has the potential to pitch better than he has lately, but there's no telling if he can stay healthy enough to do so.
Though the Yankees could probably sign him to a cheap contract, his injury history raises a red flag. He landed on the DL for four consecutive seasons with the Blue Jays, and he missed significant time over the last three seasons. Aside from this year's injury, he missed four months in 2013 with an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm. He missed over two months in 2012 with an oblique strain. And as previously mentioned, when he finally rejoined the team in 2014, it was as a reliever. Evidently, the Blue Jays thought that moving Morrow from the rotation to the bullpen could cut down on his injuries. He originally pitched as a reliever for the Mariners before they traded him to the Blue Jays, so signing him would increase a team's flexibility. Even though his injuries haven't necessarily been chronic (he did also miss a month in 2011 with right forearm inflammation), it seems like he can be counted on to miss several months every year at this point.
The Yankees could really use a break from pitching injuries, especially after last season. If the Yankees are unable to sign Brandon McCarthy or even Chris Capuano, then it could be worth it to look into Morrow as somewhat of a last resort. With some question marks surrounding CC Sabathia's knees and Masahiro Tanaka's elbow, and with Ivan Nova likely to miss the first several weeks of the season, it might be beneficial to have someone like Morrow available from the pen who could fill in anywhere. At the very least, he should be inexpensive and he might be able to stay healthy long enough to be helpful.
Would you pass or sign Brandon Morrow?