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Morrow, Floyd, Anderson Find New Homes, Hope to Bounceback in 2015

Even though this year’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings have come to a close, there are still a lot of familiar faces out there in free agency limbo who seek new homes for the upcoming baseball season.

Brandon Morrow was one of those names until coming to terms with the San Diego Padres on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million plus incentives. Despite making just 16 combined starts over the past two seasons due to injury, Morrow is an excellent bounce-back candidate if he can just stay healthy, and there’s no better environment for a pitcher to have a successful comeback season than within the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park in San Diego.

After starting out his career as a reliever in Seattle in 2007, Morrow arrived in Toronto three years later and was promptly converted into a full-time starter. Despite registering eye-opening strikeout numbers from the get-go, Morrow was inconsistent, and it wasn't until 2012 when he seemingly put it all together and actually looked like a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate. In fact, he carried a 7-3 record and 2.90 ERA into mid-June of that season, before straining his oblique in the first inning of a start against the Nationals, which ultimately cost him the ensuing two-plus months. Since then, the 31-year old hasn’t been the same, battling other ailments along the way that have sent him back to the disabled list multiple times.

Another veteran starter to find a new home this week was right-hander Gavin Floyd, who lands in Cleveland with a similar one-year deal valued at $4 million plus incentives. Like the signing of Morrow, this is a very low-risk, high-reward move by the Indians, bringing aboard a starting pitcher that has an injury history, but also a notable track record in the big leagues.

Unlike Morrow, however, Floyd was very good as recent as this past season, as he was enjoying a true renaissance year in 2014. In his first campaign with the Braves -- in which he was coming back from Tommy John surgery -- Floyd was 2-2 in nine starts with a 2.65 ERA. The 31-year old was also extremely consistent, yielding three runs or less in all but one of his assignments, before a broken bone in his throwing elbow ended his campaign prematurely in June. Previously, the 31-year old had registered five consecutive seasons with double-digit victories, accomplishing this feat from 2008-2012 during his tenure with the White Sox.

The third injury-plagued hurler to ink elsewhere was Brett Anderson, who comes to the Dodgers on a one-year, $10 million contract after spending one abbreviated season in Colorado.

Anderson is mostly known for his time in Oakland, where he spent the first five years of his career and displayed very significant potential that had many believing he could be an upper-rotation pitcher for a long time. However, the 30 starts he would make in his rookie campaign of 2009 would actually turn out to be his career-high -- by a wide margin, in fact -- as Anderson has yet to surpass 20 starts in a season since. When on the mound, however, Anderson still exhibits the tools to be successful, as evidenced by his 2.91 ERA in eight starts for the Rockies this past year, but again, injuries cut his time short, and the talented southpaw was sidelined from early-August through the end of the campaign.

Still just 26-years old, Anderson has plenty of time to re-solidify himself if he could avoid the injury bug, and he wisely picked the Los Angeles Dodgers as his landing destination, where he can toe the rubber in a distinct pitcher’s park similar to the one he enjoyed in Oakland.

While these moves didn’t generate as much fanfare as some of the big signings that occurred during the heart of the Winter Meetings, they still all have the potential to be very impactful in 2015. Three intriguing starting pitchers who have all flashed great promise and garnered accolades in the past, now all have new beginnings after untimely injuries. If they can just stay healthy, these are guys we will be hearing a lot more about as we roll through the upcoming spring and beyond.

 





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