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Cubs Add Righty Brandon Morrow, Lefty Drew Smyly To Pitching Mix

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Two days before signing right-hander Steve Cishek to a two-year deal (currently pending a physical), the Chicago Cubs added free agent pitchers Brandon Morrow and Drew Smyly, as announced on Tuesday.

Just like Cishek’s deal, Morrow’s and Smyly’s are for two years each. According to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, Morrow’s is for $21 million and Smyly’s is for $10 million (includes a potential $7 million in performance bonuses).

Morrow, 33, had a breakout season as a reliever in 2017 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, his lone one with the team. In 45 games out of the bullpen, he was 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 43 2/3 innings. In 14 playoff games, he posted a 3.95 ERA across 13 2/3 innings, while becoming the first pitcher in Major League history to appear in all seven games of a World Series.

The 11-year veteran took to Twitter to voice his excitement about joining the Cubs:

Prior to 2017, Morrow pitched for the Seattle Mariners (2007-09; 131 games/15 starts), Toronto Blue Jays (2010-14; 100 games/93 starts), and San Diego Padres (2015-16; 23 games/five starts). A plethora of injuries limited Morrow to only 46 games (21 starts) from 2013-16.

Overall in 299 career games, Morrow is 51-43 with a 4.05 ERA and 846 strikeouts in 828 1/3 innings.

Morrow is currently the Cubs’ closer for 2018 according to general manager Jed Hoyer; however, free agent right-hander Wade Davis isn’t ruled out of a return after locking up 32 games in 2017.

“Morrow is a team player and will do anything,” said Hoyer. “He did an awesome job last year in the eighth inning for the Dodgers. We’re excited to have him, and he’ll pitch super high-leverage innings. If the season started tomorrow, he’d be our closer.”

Smyly, on the other hand, didn’t pitch at all in the majors in 2017 as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery; he was non-tendered by the Seattle Mariners earlier this month.

In five Major League seasons with the Detroit Tigers (2012-14) and Tampa Bay Rays (2014-16), the 28-year-old Smyly is 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA in 156 games (85 starts). His most recent season, 2016, saw him go 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 games/starts for the Rays across a career high 175 1/3 innings.

“Anything we get out of (Smyly) next year will be sort of gravy,” said Hoyer. “He may be able to help us late in the season out of the bullpen. This is a move that’s focused on 2019. He’s a really good, high-quality starting pitcher, and we’re excited to get him on this deal and rehab him and hopefully get him back to where he was.”

Chicago Cubs

Cubs’ Addison Russell Receives 40-Game Suspension

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Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been suspended without pay for 40 games, retroactive to September 21st, the date he was placed on administrative leave, under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, according to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers.

The league formally announced the suspension on Wednesday, and Russell will not appeal the suspension.

Russell was placed on administrative leave back in September amid allegations of physical and verbal abuse brought forward by his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy.

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Addison Russell violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Russell violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will cover 40 games.”

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Cubs Acquire Terrance Gore

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The Chicago Cubs have acquired outfielder Terrance Gore from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations, according to an announcement from the organization on Wednesday.

Gore, 27, will bring the Cubs a  legit base-stealing threat.

Gore is likely to start off his run with the Cubs in their minor league system as they eye using him as a weapon in the playoffs, and could be called up when rosters officially are expanded for the stretch run in September.

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Cubs Sign Jorge De La Rosa

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The Chicago Cubs have signed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, according to a team announcement (h/t MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat)

In corresponding moves, the Cubs transferred starting pitcher Yu Darivish to the 6-day disabled list and left-hander Randy Rosario, who has pitched to a 3.00 ERA so far this season, was designated for assignment.

De La Rosa was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week after struggling to a 4.63 ERA this season.

 

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