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40 in 40: Mike Morin

The pile, continued

this is a photo of the professional baseball player named Mike Morin
Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning with the thrill of anticipation. Sometimes it’s for something you know is going to happen — maybe you’re leaving on vacation for a few days. Sometimes it’s for something that you think might happen — you’re pretty sure that this is the day you’re getting promoted. Either way, that sheer sense of excitement is unparalleled. Even if the state of things right now isn’t so good, at least it’ll be fine really soon!

Most Fridays are like that. The world’s most dreadful day at work could be on tap and the thought of the impending weekend will get us through that. A little more than a month ago, one Friday was a little more special than most. Many Mariner fans woke up with the knowledge that, any minute now, they could be opening an early Christmas present in the form of a free agent from Japan.

We refreshed Twitter. Again. And again. Probably about twice per minute, on average. It was 9:30 AM — nothing. 10:00 AM, still nothing. Finally, sometime around 11:00 AM, when our phones were somehow at 10% battery:

Shock, disbelief, anger, and grief, all at once. Really? There had to be some way this was a mistake. There was no official press release, after all. So we kept refreshing. And then this showed up. And I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Getting Mike Morin was like finally working up the courage to ask your boss for the promotion, and instead he says you get to stick your hand in the “Treasure Box” he keeps above his desk, and you pull out a coupon for 50% off a yoga class at a studio 11 miles away from your house.

It’s not fair to Mike Morin that, to Mariner fans, he will be forever associated with Shohei Ohtani. He never asked to be the crappy stocking stuffer that nobody really wanted. He just wanted a job. But boy, is he a crappy stocking stuffer.

Morin, 26, boasts a three pitch arsenal consisting of a 91 MPH fastball, a slider, and his most interesting pitch, a changeup. His changeup is notable for sitting a 72 MPH, nearly a full 20 MPH slower than his fastball. It’s a drastic difference, and one of the largest in baseball, as this Fangraphs piece outlines.

Unfortunately, that difference hasn’t translated into much success. Morin hasn’t broken 0.6 fWAR in any of his four MLB seasons and has been waived twice in the past year. He doesn’t strike a lot of people out. He doesn’t walk a lot of people, but his batted ball profiles don’t really make up for the lack of strikeouts. He’s just kinda meh. Learning about him and spending time on him has left a somewhat chalky taste in my mouth, like I just ate one of these.

Mike Morin: The Candy

If there is interest to be salvaged, it’s in the fact that Dipoto is familiar with Morin from their overlapping tenures with the Angels. It’s possible that Dipoto thinks there’s an easily-correctable mechanical flaw in Morin’s delivery, or that he can take advantage of some obscure peripheral statistic for which he’s an outlier. Those both seem like long shots at best.

When it comes down to it, Morin is a pile guy. He’ll enter camp in a roster spot battle with the likes of Dan Altavilla, James Pazos, and Tony Zych, among others. Relievers are volatile — maybe this will be a career year for Morin. The M’s are already relying on a lot to go right, so banking on that seems like asking for (even more) trouble.