FWIW, Dave Cameron doesn't like it for the Mariners.
Update: Jordan Bastian, a reliable reporter from Toronto, reports that Johermyn Chavez is the prospect the M’s are getting. Chavez is Toronto’s version of Greg Halman – toolsy RH outfielder with power and terrible plate discipline, hit well repeating low-A ball as a 20-year-old last year. Upside, sure, but a long way from the majors and lots of flaws. If true, this is the first deal Jack has made that I truly dislike. Full analysis when its official.
I see why Dave doesn't like it, but Morrow is a hard guy to get a read on. For one, he's had some health issues (and the whole diabetic thing is never going away), has been wishy-washy in respect to his role (the previous regime is responsible for much of it but it was he who decided he wanted to be reliever last year before changing his mind again and going back to starting), and has no secondary pitches or control. He's only made 35 starts in 4 years in professional baseball, and made less than 25 in 3 years in college. He's got an arm for sure and a terrific fastball, but he's never been able to consistently get his slider over for strikes, let alone have anything resembling an ok third or fourth pitch. The strikeouts are nice, but the walks are pretty alarming (his low in college was 3.6/9 and it's remained 3.8 or higher through every stop of his professional career [excluding one game in A]).
It was pretty apparent going into the offseason that at best Seattle saw Morrow as competition for the #5 starter spot. Felix and RRS were set, and all along they've said they wanted to add two pitchers (Lee is one and I expect someone else - Sheets? Randy? Smoltz? - to be here soon). Snell and Morrow were basically set to take the last spot. League is already a good reliever, better than Morrow as a reliever right now, and Chavez is an interesting prospect. League could basically be this year's Aardsma, with the added advantage that he's an extreme groundballer. I think it's entirely possible that the M's just didn't see Morrow as contributing as a starter this year or ever, and wanted to get value for him while they still could.
The problem is that we (as M's fans) all thought Morrow's trade value would be higher. From the rumors that Milwaukee loved him to the rumored offer of Morrow for EJax, it seems like the return isn't as great as you'd think we would have gotten. Which brings us to the rumored conspiracy theories. The first one is that the M's specifically needed a reliever because it's setting up another deal. The second is interesting, but it's possible that it could be the last shoe to drop as part of the Halladay/Lee deal. There were some things that never really added up (Why is it being called a three team deal? Why is Toronto kicking in $6M? Why would the Phillies deal Lee to Seattle for three non-elite prospects instead of shopping him for something more?) that this could explain. Since MLB only gave Halladay a couple days to negotiate an extension, that part had to happen quickly. The Lee to Seattle piece was done as well. But maybe Toronto and Seattle had a handshake deal that they just had to finalize. I'm not sure that I believe it, but it does make some sense. We'll just have to wait and see what Jack says when it's all official and he talks about it.
Anyway, I guess I don't love it and I don't hate it. I thought we could get more for Morrow, but I trust that if this is just a straight swap that Jack exhausted every avenue available. He's too smart a guy not to have done that, and I have a lot of confidence in the job he's doing. I guess I'm just getting so used to him fleecing everyone that I have expected him to deal Morrow and Jose Lopez and a bag of balls for Albert Pujols.