Cubs re-sign reliever John Grabow

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John Grabow has decided to pass on free agency and remain with the Cubs, signing a two-year deal worth a reported $7.5 million.
Acquired from the Pirates at midseason, Grabow had a 3.24 ERA in 25 innings out of the Cubs’ bullpen and has a nice-looking 3.09 ERA in 148 innings overall during the past two years.
However, with a 119/77 K/BB ratio and 14 homers allowed during that time his secondary numbers suggest that Grabow has been quite fortunate to post those marks.
His batting average on balls in play and the rate at which he strands runners on base were both unsustainably strong and figure to be worse going forward, making it likely that he’ll be a decent left-handed setup man rather than a lights-out option in the late innings.
Chicago certainly has enough payroll space that dropping $3.75 million per season on a non-elite reliever isn’t a big issue either way, but I’d bet against Grabow being worth $7.5 million over the next two years.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.