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.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.