My Last Morrow Post For A While

Dave · March 27, 2007 at 3:02 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I don’t want to beat this subject to death, and I don’t want to come across as some kind of anti-Morrow crusader who will tear my hair out if he makes the team. Jeff Sullivan does a great job laying out the case for why it could work, and I agree with about 90% of what he wrote in that post. But I want to point out one comment he made in the comment section over there that is worth noting:

And yet, that’s precisely why it’s also so rooted in faith. Observation is subjective. So are interpretation and extrapolation. We have to trust the Mariners that they know exactly how good Morrow is and how much they can push him, and I think that’s the heart of the main disagreement. In theory, the organization should be more qualified to make this decision than any of us, but we’ve seen them screw up enough times in the past that the trust is on thin ice, if not already submerged in water. It’s a big leap, and precisely why I think external sources might offer the best opinions on this. I can’t do it, because my window is blurred.

Jeff’s absolutely right here. The best advice on this kind of decision is going to come from credible external sources. I think we have several.

Cleveland Indians optioned Adam Miller to Triple-A.
SF Giants optioned Tim Lincecum to Triple-A.
Detroit Tigers optioned Andrew Miller to Triple-A.
New York Yankees optioned Philip Hughes to Triple-A.
Cincinnati Reds optioned Homer Bailey to Triple-A.
Kansas City Royals optioned Luke Hochevar to Triple-A.

I’m going to focus on the Adam Miller transaction, because Adam Miller is essentially what we hope and pray that Morrow becomes. Their repertoires are similar, though Miller’s stuff is a notch above. Miller dominated spring training even more than Morrow did, tossing 14 shutout innings and allowing 11 baserunners. The Indians are legitimate contenders. Their bullpen is a giant jumble of question marks, and they lost starting pitcher Cliff Lee to an injury that will sideline him for the first month of the season.

Here’s a few quotes from an article about Miller the other day.

“He’s a man,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “You watch the way he walks around this clubhouse, and he’s very respectful, but he has a presence about him. Even on the mound, he has that presence.”

“I don’t think anyone is surprised at what he’s come in and done this spring,” manager Eric Wedge said.

“We’ve never felt like Adam was a year away,” general manager Mark Shapiro said. “We’ve always felt that he could impact our team sometime this year. We felt he had the level of talent that, whenever that time came, it would be evident. When he puts everything together, he can dominate the competition.”

They’re saying the same things about him that the Mariners are about Brandon Morrow. And still, the Indians never once considered carrying Miller on opening day.

It’s the exact same situation, except the Indians have even more reasons for carrying Miller than the M’s do for carrying Morrow. And yet, Shapiro and Antonetti never even flinched in their resolve to do what was best for Adam Miller’s development.

Two organizations making the same decision. If someone asked you which front office was more likely to be making the right decision, and your choices were Seattle and Cleveland, would you really take the Mariners in that fight?

Not me.


21 Responses to “My Last Morrow Post For A While”

  1. feingarden on March 27th, 2007 3:15 pm

    Regarding this and the “Mike Hargrove is delusional” thread, it occurs to me how useful it would be to have some sort of thought-interpreting microphone (a thoughtophone?) embedded in Hargrove’s head so we could eavesdrop on what he was actually thinking. Would we hear, “Wow, this Morrow kid is great and ready for the show!” Or would we hear, “I’m gonna do everything I can to save my job, and I’m not going to let what’s best for this Morrow kid’s future stand in my way.” Or would we just hear the sound of crickets in an empty stadium?

    Either way, it sure would help make the diagnosis of evil vs. misguided vs. incompetent a whole lot easier.

  2. bakomariner on March 27th, 2007 3:18 pm

    i agree with #1 about grover’s thoughts here…either trying to save his job, or crickets…

    off subject, but [deleted, off-subject]

  3. joser on March 27th, 2007 3:19 pm

    Where does that Antonetti guy work, again?

  4. Spanky on March 27th, 2007 4:02 pm

    The KANSAS CITY FREAKIN ROYALS…so desperate for pitching that they sign Mariner cast-offs for 5/$11 Million…have enough sense to do the right thing for their star wonder-child pitcher and the M’s don’t get it?!?!

  5. ChrisK on March 27th, 2007 4:05 pm

    Yes, but Morrow’s makeup is 4-7% better than Adam Miller’s. It might even surpass Chris Reitsma’s makeup chart!

  6. aesop on March 27th, 2007 4:10 pm

    Would Cleveland actually get the same benefit or benefit more from using Miller? They know they’ll compete with our without him, i think if Morrow comes through for us he may help us to win a few more games which might be the difference we need to actually compete in this division

  7. ChrisK on March 27th, 2007 4:17 pm

    Miller might even make more sense to keep than Morrow. The Indians are almost guaranteed to be in the midst of a very competitive division with Minnesota and Chicago all summer. Not to mention the Wild Card race.

  8. ChrisK on March 27th, 2007 4:19 pm

    I forgot to mention Detroit as well.

  9. SCL on March 27th, 2007 4:30 pm

    #6 If Morrow gets the Ms into the playoffs to lose in the first round. Would it have been worth the risk to Morrow?

    What if the Ms just take 2nd in the division?

  10. Wishhiker on March 27th, 2007 5:18 pm

    The M’s are in a worse position to be moving a prospect from one position to another than Cleveland is to keep Miller as a Starter and bring him up. It’s hardly comparable. It’d make more sense for the M’s to stunt Clements growth as a catcher and bring him up as a DH and I don’t see them doing that. Moving Morrow to the BP is a bad idea because the possible problems far outweigh the possible plusses created, not because it will be an overall negative but because it’s more likely to be than it is to be a positive.

  11. Wishhiker on March 27th, 2007 5:27 pm

    Well Morrow may be more ready to be in a set-up role than Clement is to be a DH, but otherwise it makes more sense.

  12. Choska on March 27th, 2007 5:31 pm

    I agree with Jeff Sullivan’s comment that, given Grover’s habit of making the wrong decision with gusto, we should automatically do the opposite of whatever he says.

    Sending Morrow down to AA/AAA to get in some work will give us a slight chance of brining him up in August. Why is that important? Because there is no way that Ramirez or Weaver make it through the year in the starting rotation. By mid-summer we’ll be DYING to get some help from somewhere. Starting Morrow in AA/AAA keeps alive the slight possibility of bringing him up.

    Finding a good bullpen on the cheap and off the scrap heap is a talent that our GM should have. The fact that we are freaking out this late in March about our pen is Prosecution Exhibit #86 for why Bavasi isn’t the right guy to lead this club.

    Stats so far this spring

    Soriano: 8 IP, 12 Ks,
    Ramirez: 12.1 IP, 4 Ks, (not including today’s disaster)
    Morrow: 8.1 IP, 8 Ks

    The fact that we are having this discussion about Morrow at all is infuriating. All it tells me is that Hargrove and Bavasi will burn down the house in order to save their jobs.

  13. colm on March 27th, 2007 5:45 pm

    I think the big question is:
    Is this worth the risk to Morrow today?
    Or should the Mariners wait until tomorrow?

  14. JMHawkins on March 27th, 2007 6:03 pm

    …there is no way that Ramirez or Weaver make it through the year in the starting rotation. By mid-summer we’ll be DYING to get some help from somewhere.

    My thoughts exactly. So, if we’re dead set on keeping Morrow with the big club, why not go the distance and stick him in the rotation and let HoRam pitch out of the bullpen? I mean, he’s got Soriano’s roster spot, let him do Soriano’s job.

    I’m so fed up with the way this team manages itself.

  15. msb on March 27th, 2007 9:36 pm

    I got to listen to Jeff Nelson on two different shows explain that it didn’t matter whether Morrow was in the pen or starting, that the team needed him to help them get wins this year, and that was more important. Morrow can always start next year.

  16. Typical Idiot Fan on March 27th, 2007 10:34 pm

    Good News – Bavasi isn’t yet pigeonholing Morrow as a reliever, talking about coming up with a plan to still attempt to develop him as a starter in other ways. Of course, the M’s paid this same lip service to Rafael Soriano as well, so it’s good news with a caveat.

    Soriano doesn’t quite equate. Nothing the Mariners has done before equates to this. In fact, there’s very little precedent for what the Mariners are (maybe) about to do. A few posts back you mentioned four guys put into the majors with little experience, but they were all drafted as / or were slated to be relief arms. Jim Abbott was plunked virtually into the majors from the get go, but he was a starter his entire college career and remained as such in the majors. I don’t think it has been done very often that a team takes a prospective starter and puts him into the majors as a reliever and all without 20 innings worth of professional ball under his belt.

    Because of this, I don’t think we can really speculate what the hell will happen to this kid. I think we can safely say he’ll be a respectable bullpen arm, but will this really stunt his growth as a potential starter? Can this experiment in “teaching backwards” (if you will) work and / or should it be attmepted?

    With other starting prospects like Feierabend, Thomas, Butler, and Tillman, and young Felix here with us for quite some time, is Morrow’s destiny pre-ordained anyway?

    I’m just asking questions here. I’m not disagreeing with anything you (Dave) or Jeff Sullivan has said, becuase you both know your stuff and have years of data and analysis to back up your opinions on the traditional makeup of starting pitcher prospects. But isn’t this experiment worth a try?

  17. Typical Idiot Fan on March 28th, 2007 12:54 am

    I don’t think it has been done very often that a team takes a prospective starter and puts him into the majors as a reliever and all without 20 innings worth of professional ball under his belt.

    “Then turned him back into a starter.”

    I figured it was implied, but just in case.

  18. Paul B on March 28th, 2007 8:42 am

    Well, there was that high school kid, David Clyde, that Texas had start with no minor league experience.

    That didn’t work out so good.

  19. Livengood on March 28th, 2007 11:15 am

    JMHawkins wrote:

    My thoughts exactly. So, if we’re dead set on keeping Morrow with the big club, why not go the distance and stick him in the rotation and let HoRam pitch out of the bullpen?

    Because Morrow has not been stretched out (even remotely) to start this year. He has only 8.1 IP this Spring (which, incidently, is the biggest tell that the M’s plan to bring him north; if they were even half-contemplating sending him down, they would have started letting him throw more innings to stretch him out to be a starter in the minors, whose season begins in early April, too).

    I am strongly in the “send him down and keep him as a starter” camp, but one thing I’ve wondered about and haven’t seen mentioned in this discussion is whether Morrow’s injury history is part of the equation here. This guy has had some trouble staying healthy, both in college and last year, and I wonder if they think they might be better able to monitor his health as a reliever than as a starter?

  20. Typical Idiot Fan on March 28th, 2007 4:06 pm

    Well, there was that high school kid, David Clyde, that Texas had start with no minor league experience.

    Again, as a starter tho. Understand the situation: Morrow was a starter in his last year of college, so it stood to reason he could be a starter in the majors. The Mariners have not stretched him out at all in the minors for starting work, as he’s never worked longer then 3 innings at a time. But now they’re going to put him in as a relief arm, and stretch him out as a starter later. Or at least that’s the theory.

    There’s virtually no precedent for this. Taking young guys and putting them into the show immediately or soon after drafting isn’t unusual. But taking a starter, making him a relief arm, then maybe making him a starter again, is pretty unheard of.

  21. Senior Octobre on March 28th, 2007 8:30 pm

    The kid has pitched in relief before, both at Cal and in the Cape Cod League. Dude throws 94-99 Mph and has spliter that rushes up there at 90-91. He has a slider that is effective and a change that he admits, needs alot of work. He’ll be allright if he doesn’t trot out there everyday or every other day all season. The thing is we know Batista has a rubber arm. He had like 78 appearances two years ago and saved 30 some games. Last year he tossed two hundred innings. We don’t know if Morrow can bounce back.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.