Less than two weeks away from the MLB trade deadline, the Phillies on Saturday announced a trade for right-handed reliever Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations.
Morin, 28, was originally drafted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Angels in the 13th round out of the University of North Carolina. In six seasons for four teams, Morin is 10-8 with a 4.48 ERA. This season, he has appeared in 23 games for the Twins and over 22 2/3 innings, he has a very respectable 3.18 ERA and 0.971 WHIP.
Something doesn’t quite add up, though.
Before we take a look at what Morin can offer the Phillies, we first have to consider why the Twins are offloading him. The upstart Twins are in first place in the AL Central and have playoff and World Series aspirations of their own. They’re 12th in the major leagues with a 4.28 bullpen ERA and good relief pitching never goes out of style, especially when you’re only getting cash considerations in return.
Morin was designated for assignment despite his decent season-long numbers because of regression toward his career stats. Morin started hot but has allowed 10 runs, seven earned, on 13 hits over his past 11 1/3 innings. That’s not exactly what you’d like to see on a contending team looking for a stable bullpen arm.
Enter the Phillies, who are in a similar spot, battling for a playoff position and looking to bolster a bullpen that has let them down considerably of late. They are 25th in the majors in bullpen ERA at 4.98.
At this point in the season, the Phillies know exactly what they have in the minors in terms of players that can come in and help the team, including shuffling Vince Velasquez into relief work for a time and now giving Nick Pivetta a shot in the bullpen. It seems clear from this move that the Phillies aren’t confident there’s any help internally, so, at a very low cost, they’re willing to give Morin a shot and hope he reverts to his early-season form that saw him allow just one earned run over his first 10 1/3 innings of the season.
Seems like it’s worth a shot, but looking beyond his current stats and more toward how he has looked recently paints a more clear and troubling picture.
To make room for Morin on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Seranthony Dominguez was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
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