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Today in Blue Jays History: Brandon Morrow Trade

Brandon Morrow
Brandon Morrow
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Four years ago today, the Blue Jays trade Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez to the Mariners for Brandon Morrow. Hugo posted this:

Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the Jays traded sometimes-brilliant, occasionally-frustrating pitcher Brandon League to the Seattle Mariners for sometimes-brilliant, occasionally-frustrating pitcher Brandon Morrow. The Jays also included a "prospect" in the deal but we don't know who that is - although according to MLB Trade Rumors, it should be someone pretty good to make it a fair deal.

Chavez seemed like an ok prospect, at the time, but he didn't pan out. Last year he played in Tennessee, for the Cubs' Double-A team, hitting just .205/.306/.270.

Brandon League was a favorite of mine and Hugo liked him too:

Leaguer, if this is it, it's been fun having you on the Jays. You often amazed, occasionally frustrated with your crazy sinker and constantly morphing mechanics. Your tattoos gave hope to Asian-Americans everywhere that they could be thought of as cool. Good luck and enjoy the West Coast!

But anytime you can trade a reliever for a should do it. League turned into a pretty decent closer, for the M's, putting up 52 saves and a 3.26 ERA in 2.5 seasons, before he was traded to the Dodgers for a couple of minor leaguers. League was very good in LA, for the second half of the 2012 season and managed to get a $22.5 million 3-year contract (with a vesting option for a 4th year). His 2013 season didn't go so well, he lost his closer job and put up a 5.30 ERA, becoming the mop up man by the end of the season.

Morrow needed a fair bit of help from former pitching coach Bruce Walton which we asked him about back in 2012:

Brandon, it's my second year with Brandon. His first year we went through some walk issues, base on balls, command issues. We pretty much ironed it out. We got to the point where now we left a lot of balls in the middle of the plate. So we went from one extreme to the other extreme and we gave up a lot of home runs last year. He's a fly ball pitcher at times, he doesn't get a whole lot of ground balls, so when the ball sits in the middle of the plate belt high and they get a piece of it, it goes. So now it is just staying down in the zone consistently. I think for Brandon to be consistent, his pitches have to be down consistent. We have to plan the effort level to pitch at consistently. Consistency is what we have to work on in every aspect. Keeping the ball down, keeping our emotions in check. Keeping our work effort at a certain level, consistently. All those will come. This is the year for that to come. There's steps to becoming a major league starting pitcher. The first step was that we needed to throw strikes. We accomplished that. It took us a year and a half. Our next step is to manage the game a little bit better and manage our emotions a little bit better and manage our season a little bit better and become more consistent. That's where we are at.

In 2012 it looked like he was putting it all together, he had a 2,96 ERA, but injuries limited him to 21 starts. Last year he only made 10 starts before hitting the DL again. Hopefully next season will go better.

Despite all injuries, I think it's pretty safe to say that we won the trade(Baseball Reference credits Morrow with 5.5 WAR as a Jay). That 1-hitter, with 17 strikeouts, in 2010 by itself made the trade worthwhile to me. But we haven't had that really great season yet from Morrow. Maybe 2014 will be that year.