When you look back on Brandon Morrow's Mariner career, what will you remember most? Will it be his near-unhittable streak as a flamethrowing late reliever in 2008? His first start later that summer, when he flirted with a no-hitter against the mighty Yankees? Or will it be his final start this past September, when he pitched eight innings of one-run, shutout ball, striking out nine Oakland Athletics in the process?
Now, imagine this jersey with "Blue Jays" on the front.
If you answered "none of the above," you answered correctly: Morrow will forever be remembered as the player the Mariners drafted instead of locally-reared Tim Lincecum, the pint-sized righty who's gone on to rack up two Cy Young Awards in three years for San Francisco.Now that Morrow appears headed for Toronto in a trade that will reportedly net the M's a serviceable middle reliever and a prospect, it's finally okay for the press to render a verdict that's been staring them in the face for the past several years: that the Morrow selection was indefensibly awful. Not so much because Morrow himself was awful, but because Lincecum's been so good. And let's not forget the Mariners' handling of Morrow, one of the most mismanaged talents in club history.
Pegged as a starter when drafted out of Cal-Berkeley, Morrow was then rushed to the bigs in 2007 to play setup man for J.J. Putz, a role he thrived in. When Putz faltered the following year, Morrow stepped into the closer's role and kicked ass. Then, later in 2008, when it became apparent that the club had no prayer of making the playoffs, Morrow was sent down to the minors to build up his arm strength in order to start, an experiment that seemed to be on the right course when he nearly no-hit New York.
A similar regimen ensued in Winter Ball, and Morrow came into spring training in 2009 with what looked to be a lock on a spot in the rotation. Then, just as the season began, he mysteriously requested to head back to the bullpen, where he reclaimed the role of closer. Only this time, he struggled so mightily that he quickly gave way to David Aardsma and was subsequently sent back to Tacoma...to try his hand at starting again.
This time, at last, the M's were more methodical in their handling of Morrow, who rewarded their patience with the aforementioned outing against Oakland, which now looks to be his final game in Seattle now that he's being shipped to Toronto in a deal the USS Mariner is already declaring a head-scratcher.
Feeling dizzy? Can't blame you. The important thing to know is that this crazy odyssey is evidently over now. And at that, we wish Morrow the best. But we really wish the M's had just fuckin' drafted Lincecum instead.