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Phillies add right-hander Mike Morin to bullpen mix


OAKLAND, CA – JULY 02: Minnesota Twins pitcher Mike Morin (51) during the Major League Baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 2, 2019 in Oakland, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies announced a trade this morning in which the club acquired right-handed relief pitcher Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations. Morin had been DFA’d by Minnesota three days ago.

Morin is a 28-year-old Minnesota native who was the Los Angeles Angels 13th round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of North Carolina.

He broke into the big-leagues just two years later with a strong 2014 rookie performance for the Halos in which he went 4-4 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.186 WHIP. Morin pitched in 60 games that year, allowing 51 hits over 59 innings with a 54/19 K:BB.

While he wasn’t awful over the next few years, Morin was never able to repeat that same level of performance, and he was released in the summer of 2017. The Kansas City Royals picked him up, but Morin was ineffective over a half-dozen September appearances with the Royals.

Waived by Kansas City, Morin was selected by the Seattle Mariners in December of 2017. He would make just three big-league appearances for Seattle in the 2018 season, though he pitched well over 41 appearances (including three starts) with the Mariners Triple-A affiliates at Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League.

Morin was granted free agency this past off-season and the Twins signed him to a $750k deal for the 2019 season. Prior to being designated for assignment earlier this week, Morin was enjoying a solid but unspectacular season as a deep arm in the first-place Minnesota bullpen.

Morin appeared in 23 games for the Twins this year, producing 3.18 ERA, 4.50 FIP and 0.971 WHIP marks. He allowed 20 hits, including three home runs, over 22.2 innings with an 11/2 K:BB ratio.

The righty normally brings his fastball in the 90-92 MPH range. However, he is not a strikeout pitcher by any measure. Morin primarily utilizes a sinker and an effective changeup to keep hitters off balance and induce ground balls, a repertoire that could actually play well at Citizens Bank Park.

Morin was a close friend of recently deceased Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, attending the wedding of his former teammate just last December. According to Betsy Helfand of TwinCities.com, Morin’s fiancee’ Amy Nece shared a suite with Skaggs’ wife, Carli, during the combined no-hitter last week in which Angels players draped their #45 jerseys across the mound as a tribute to the pitcher, who had died suddenly in his hotel room while on a recent road trip.

You just do life together,” Morin said per Helfand. “…Naturally, we all become close. We all become a family. And when you lose one of your family members, it’s pretty devastating.

Morin will become part of the bullpen mix with the Phillies as soon as he arrives. His pure numbers are better than a handful of relievers who have been pitching key innings of late, including Juan Nicasio, J.D. Hammer and Cole Irvin. Fans should expect manager Gabe Kapler to use him liberally, especially if Morin pitches as he did with Minnesota.

In accompanying moves, the Phillies slid injured reliever Seranthony Dominguez over to the 60-day Injured List and optioned Hammer back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Dominguez is not expected to return to the club until mid-August at the earliest.

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