My sources in Seattle just told me Brandon Morrow is off to Florida for a physical tomorrow. Toronto has its spring training facilities in Dunedin, Fla. and that’s an easier haul for Morrow from his home in Arizona (not California, as I originally wrote last night. I still think of him as a Cal guy) than having to cross a border into Canada. The Blue Jays routinely handle their physicals down there since so many players live in Florida to begin with. Morrow’s flight leaves at 10 a.m. Pacific time, so don’t expect any word on the deal being officially done until much later in the day, if not Wednesday.
My Toronto sources also just told me that Brandon League is off to Seattle for his physical tomorrow. So, Morrow is now definitely history with the Mariners after an up-and-down career since being drafted in 2006. This marks the third No. 1 draft pick by former GM Bill Bavasi that Jack Zduriencik has traded.
Zduriencik shipped out Jeff Clement (2005) this past summer, then Phillippe Aumont (2007) last week. Now Morrow. I wonder if Josh Fields (2008) is getting nervous?
We’ll find out soon enough who the mystery prospect is that Seattle is also getting in the deal. I’m told it won’t be Brett Wallace, the third baseman acquired from Oakland for prospect Michael Taylor in the whole Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay swap. The Blue Jays originally drafted Wallace and had been after him for a while. They view him as a first baseman.
But I can tell you this about League: he brings mid-90s heat and uses a sinker to get a lot of ground balls. He has a 62 percent career groundball rate. Oddly enough, his 55.7 percent grounder rate from last year was the lowest of his career.
That’s still pretty good. And if you look at some other numbers, his pedestrian ERA of 4.58 becomes more interesting. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) number is a much better 3.58 while his xFIP stat — which takes into account a pitcher’s “luck” factor with fly balls becoming home runs — is a mere 3.16.
Those are some pretty good numbers. Obviously, League had a little bad luck with the home run ball, probably more than he should have. Throw in Seattle’s defense and you’re looking at the acquistion of a possible mid-to-low 3.00s ERA type with a very good sinker.
Sounds a lot like what Sean White was doing in Seattle last season when things were going well. White was the go-to guy in situations with a runner on base in the late innings.