Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan is set to undergo surgery on his throwing elbow tomorrow. Morgan’s wife Rachel revealed the news in a post on her Instagram past, and NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury added that the surgery will address a flexor pronator injury. Salisbury estimates a six-to-eight month recovery time for Morgan, based on past timelines for other injured pitchers undergoing similar procedures.
This isn’t the first time that Morgan has dealt with such an injury, as injured list stints for both a forearm strain and a flexor strain limited Morgan to 29 2/3 innings pitched in 2019, and the latter flexor problem ended his season after July 31. The southpaw did spend some time on the IL this season due to shoulder soreness, yet while Morgan’s elbow didn’t cause him to miss any time this season, there were some red flags.
Morgan averaged only 91.6 mph on his fastball in 2020, a drop from his 92.6mph velocity in 2019 and a further decline after topping the 94mph threshold in both 2017 and 2018 (his first two seasons as a full-time reliever). In the small sample size of 13 innings, Morgan posted a 5.54 ERA, 11.1 K/9, and 2.67 K/BB rate this season. He also had career-worst totals in BB/9 (4.15) and HR/9 (2.08), though ERA predictors were generally satisfied with his work — Morgan had a 4.04 xFIP and 3.81 SIERA, each significantly below his real-world ERA.
After being converted to relief pitching, Morgan delivered some solid results for the Phillies in 2017, 2018, and even in his injury-shortened 2019. The lefty posted a 3.97 ERA, 9.6 K/9, and 2.84 K/BB rate over 133 2/3 innings over those three seasons. If the Phils have confidence that this elbow surgery will help Morgan get back on track, they could have interest in retaining him given the club’s dire need for bullpen help.
Morgan earned $1.575MM this season and is line for only a modest raise in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. He wouldn’t represent a big investment for Philadelphia, but by the time the non-tender deadline rolls around in early December, the team might not yet know if Morgan’s recovery will be on the shorter end or longer end of that 6-to-8 month timeframe. As such, Morgan might not be tendered a contract, though the Phils (or another team) could then explore signing him to a less-expensive deal.