Right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton has signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves. Morton will earn $15 million and bolster the Braves’ rotation. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com broke the news early Tuesday morning. Morton, 37, is a two-time All-Star, and he pitched in the 2020 World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Braves have officially announced their one-year, $15 million deal with Charlie Morton.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 24, 2020
Charlie Morton joins a Braves’ rotation that was decimated by injuries and inconsistency in 2020. While Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels were expected to be major pieces for the Braves, they started four games combined. Additionally, 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment after allowing six earned runs in his first start of the season.
As a result, the Braves relied primarily on Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson throughout the regular season and postseason. Although those two pitched well, the team’s rotation depth was shaky. That is evident as they started Bryse Wilson in the Game Four of the NLCS, who had not previously started a game since he was in college. Granted, he also pitched well, but the need to start him illustrates where their rotation was at, at the time.
The front office has made an effort to combat that in 2021, having already signed Drew Smyly, as well. If Soroka is healthy, a rotation of Fried, Soroka, Morton, Anderson, and Smyly is formidable on paper.
Returning To Atlanta
This is Morton’s second stint with the Braves. The organization drafted him in 2002 out of high school, and he played his first MLB season with them in 2008.
Although most of his career was spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he made a name for himself with the Houston Astros before signing with Tampa Bay. Since he signed with Houston in 2017, Morton has 10.6 K/9 with a 3.34 ERA and 127 ERA+. Morton struggled in his lone World Series start in 2020, but he flashed his dominance on the way to the World Series. He started three games in the ALDS and ALCS, allowing one earned run in 15 2/3 innings pitched. Additionally, he has memorable postseason moments from the 2017 postseason. In both Game Seven of the ALCS and World Series, he pitched nine combined innings, allowing one earned run.
Although Morton is on the back-end of his career, he still demonstrates an ability to pitch at a high level, and his signing brings greater rotation depth to a Braves team that was one win away from the World Series in 2020.
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