Padres News: Brandon Morrow Looking to be Fifth Starter


There was a lot of confusion this off-season as to just which pitchers the San Diego Padres had on their roster. Was it Brandon Morrow they got from the Seth Smith trade? Wasn’t he on the Blue Jays last season? Or was it Brandon Maurer? Turns out they now have both.

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Just for the recap, it was Brandon Maurer that came in from Seattle in the Seth Smith trade and is expected to start the season in the bullpen. Brandon Morrow was the 2006 1st round pick of the Mariners but has spent the last 5 seasons in Toronto. This year he comes to the Padres after the Blue Jays paid $1M to buy out his contract option year and the Padres signed him to a 1 year, $2.5M contract. As reported by A.J. Cassavel of, Morrow is excited to be on the Padres:

"“They told me they were going to aggressively improve the offense,” Morrow said. “But they went way beyond the expectations of what I thought they could probably do. And then to do it without getting rid of the starting pitching that was already here — that’s big.”"

The Padres are also excited to have the former first round pick in camp and determined to have depth in a starting rotation to make it all season long in the competitive NL West. Morrow is a question mark himself with injuries, as he only appeared in 13 total games last year and started just 6 of them en route to throwing 33 1/3 innings. He made 10 starts in 2013 and went 2-3 with an ERA of 5.63. Arguably his best season came back in 2012, where he started 21 games and put up a 2.96 ERA with a 10-7 record to show for it.

The Padres know about rehabbing pitchers with the likes of Josh Johnson, Cory Luebke, and even Andrew Cashner on their staff who had several stints on the disabled list last season. The hope is that James Shields and Ian Kennedy at least can give the staff another season of 200+ innings, with several backup plans in place should Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, and whoever wins the 5th rotation spot between Morrow, Robbie Erlin, or Odrisamer Despaigne require time away. Again, no disrespect but if your best option for a spot starter is Billy Buckner Jr. you are in trouble.

Morrow is cognizant of his own injury history and making sure he doesn’t go too hard in spring training, stating “Right now, I’m still trying to get my arm and body in shape and easing into that. I’m not going to try and go out and blow it out in live batting practice.”. He is just 30 years old, and could be primed as another Darren Baisley reclamation project. I detailed this phenomenon just about a year ago in regards to Josh Johnson in my first article for FriarsOnBase. Johnson’s potential is still unfulfilled but his promise, like Morrow’s, remains and could be valuable throughout the season for the Padres.

The Padres are fortunate to have a pitcher like Morrow on their roster who has shown flashes of greatness. The other good news is that even if Morrow doesn’t win the fifth starter job he will be a great fit in the bullpen. If he ends up making contributions to help this team win ballgames he will be well worth the $2.5M he is getting paid by the Padres.

Next: A.J. Preller Settling In...But Is He Done??

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