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Padres sign righty Morrow to 1-year deal

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres signed right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Morrow has a guaranteed deal worth $2.5 million for 2015 and can earn an additional $5 million in bonuses for starting and $1 million in bonuses for relieving.

To make room for Morrow on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated left-handed pitcher Juan Oramas for assignment.

Morrow, the No. 5 overall Draft pick in 2006 by the Mariners, became a free agent for the first time in his career after his $10 million option for 2015 was declined by the Blue Jays following the '14 season. He had no idea how the process would shake out but was impressed with Padres general manager A.J. Preller's approach.

"The Padres were aggressive in pursuing me and getting a deal done," he said. "It's nice to be wanted. That was the one thing that made it more attractive than being with some teams that were hot and cold."

Morrow had offers from clubs to both start and to pitch in relief. His preference was to join a rotation.

"There were a lot of teams that checked in and tried to work something out, to see if I wanted to go the reliever route," Morrow said. "But that wasn't something I wanted to consider. I feel I have a lot of good years of starting left in me."

The rotation depth Morrow gives the Padres could become important if the club makes a trade to acquire more offense -- a deal that almost certainly would require them to move a starting pitcher.

"We're still looking at different spots on the team where we can make improvements," Preller said earlier this week.

Morrow is 42-43 with a 4.28 ERA in eight seasons in the big leagues with the Mariners and Blue Jays. He has been limited to a combined 87 2/3 innings the last two seasons due to a right forearm strain and a torn tendon sheath in his right hand.

He has been on the disabled list at least once in each of the last four seasons.

Morrow has shown electric stuff when he's been healthy. Take his one-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts against the Rays on Aug. 8, 2008, while pitching for the Jays.

Could Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley and manager Bud Black help Morrow return to 2012 form when he had a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts? The Padres certainly felt it was worth the gamble.

Morrow joins Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Odrisamer Despaigne, Jesse Hahn and Robbie Erlin as starting rotation candidates, with prospect Matt Wisler knocking on the door.

Ross and Morrow were actually on the same staff in college in 2006 at Cal.

The Padres continue to look for offensive upgrades even after agreeing to a five-player deal that landed them Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz from the Dodgers last week.

Kemp was said to be in San Diego taking a physical on Tuesday, and that trade could become official as soon as Wednesday.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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