Blue Jays “have established contact” with Hanley Ramirez

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FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays front office has “established contact” with the reps for free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez, but then adds that the Jays are “not actively pursuing him now.”

This could be a case of due diligence, or the Blue Jays could actually be considering Hanley for third base. Jose Reyes is locked in at shortstop, though he is injury-prone. Brett Lawrie can play second.

Ramirez seems likely to have a slow-developing market this winter because of his lofty contract demands (thought to be near $100 million) and inconsistent health over the past several seasons. He appeared in just 128 games this past year, 86 games in 2013, and 64 games in 2012. The 30-year-old is a .300/.373/.500 career hitter.

The Astros have also checked in on Hanley, but that probably won’t go anywhere.

The Mariners reportedly have strong interest.

Cubs shut Brandon Morrow down for remainder of 2019

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Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow, on a rehab assignment as he works his way back from elbow and forearm issues, suffered a setback and has been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports.

Morrow, 35, hasn’t pitched since July 15, 2018. The right-hander inked a two-year, $21 million contract with the Cubs in December 2017 but has been unable to stay healthy. When he did pitch last year, he was excellent, limiting the opposition to five runs on 24 hits and nine walks with 31 strikeouts and 22 saves in 30 2/3 innings.

Morrow is likely done as a Cub. He has a vesting option for 2020 worth $12 million. The details aren’t publicly available but it presumably won’t vest. The Cubs can instead buy him out for $3 million, making him a free agent.