A trade between Seattle and Toronto was announced on Monday afternoon. No, not that one. A new one. One that won't be the lead story on ESPN, but one that's just as interesting to fantasy owners looking for low-risk, high-reward pitching.
The Mariners sent Brandon Morrow to the Blue Jays for Brandon League and an as-yet-unknown prospect. This seems like a pretty good deal for both teams, with the Mariners probably getting the better end of the deal (depending on who the prospect turns out to be).
The Mariners get a guy in Leauge who can immediately step into late-inning relief work, which will be a nice addition for the suddenly contending (if not AL West favorite) Mariners.
The M's could ill afford to have Morrow struggling to find his groove as a starter while Seattle pursues its first pennant in (HOW MANY?) years.
Morrow, Starter: 71 K, 48 UBB, 4.42 ERA, 79 1/3 IP
Morrow, Reliever: 133 K, 73 UBB, 3.65 ERA, 118 1/3 IP
Since the new administration in Toronto has indicated its committment to rebuilding, Morrow's new team may be better suited to provide him an opportunity to consolidate his skills in a starting role. The talent's there, but for Morrow to succeed, health and consistency must follow.
As for League, he leaves a bullpen rife with pitchers featuring "closer stuff" (Frasor, Downs) to one where, well... Let's just say David Aardsma was their closer last year and leave it at that.
League's surface stats in 2009 were abysmal (4.58 ERA), but his base skills tell a different story (9.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 56% GB). While one should always be wary of relievers giving breakout performances in small samples, for Leauge, the success doesn't come out of nowhere. Though his skills have taken a little while to round into form at the MLB level, League once came with top prospect billing.
With Aardsma's track record spotty at best, League is a player you might want to think about about stashing away at the end of your draft. If the opportunity to close knocks, League has the skills to keep the role.