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Reports: Cubs close to deal for Brandon Morrow

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The Cubs are reportedly close to a deal for free agent right-hander Brandon Morrow, per CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. This gels with Levine’s report from Saturday, in which he hinted that the club appeared likely to make a move before the Winter Meetings on Monday with Morrow, right-handed starter Alex Cobb and free agent reliever Addison Reed ranked high on their wish list. While the Cubs have not publicly confirmed the signing, Jeff Passan reports that it will be a two-year contract with an option at “$10 or $11 million [per] year” (via Heyman).

Morrow, 33, recently polished off a one-year stint as the Dodgers’ setup man. He pitched to a sterling 2.06 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 10.3 SO/9 and 0.0 HR/9 in 43 2/3 innings, earning 1.7 fWAR and making 2017 his most valuable season since his 2012 run with the Blue Jays. More importantly, he managed to stay healthy for the entire season, exhibiting no signs of the shoulder inflammation and forearm issues that plagued him over the last four years.

In November, Morrow expressed a desire to remain with the Dodgers — assuming, of course, that they were willing to pony up the kind of multi-year deal he’s currently seeking. There doesn’t appear to be any movement on that front, however, and the Cubs can offer Morrow something the Dodgers can’t: the opportunity to convert to a closing role.

Carlos Carrasco pitched in game action

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Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer. He’d been out since June. Despite that diagnosis, he and the Indians insisted that he would make every effort to come back this year. Yesterday he took a big step in that direction, making his first rehab appearance at Double-A Akron.

He only tossed one inning, walking one batter and striking out another. He thew 16 pitches but cranked it up to 97 with his first offering. Not too shabby.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for him returning to Cleveland. If they intend to use him as a starter again he’ll obviously need several more appearances to get stretched out. If he’s to be used as a reliever, fewer obviously. What his stamina level is and will be is also an open question.

However that gets sorted out, it’s good so have him back in action.