Chone Figgins, Dodgers close on minor league deal

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Dodgers and utilityman Chone Figgins are close to signing a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. [Update: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that an agreement has been reached.] Figgins didn’t play in 2013 after three difficult years with the Mariners. He had inked a four-year, $36 million deal following the 2009 season.

In just over 1,200 plate appearances between 2010-12, Figgins posted a .585 OPS and -0.9 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference. The Mariners designated Figgins for assignment when the 2012 season ended, with one year remaining on his deal.

On a minor league deal, the Dodgers get to see if Figgins has anything left to offer at virtually no risk. Figgins is versatile, having spent over 1,000 defensive innings in his career at three positions: third base, second base, and center field. He can also play in either outfield corner or at shortstop in a pinch, with some limited experience there during his 11-year career.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.