The Atlanta Braves have announced a contract extension for veteran starter Charlie Morton. He has been signed to a one-year deal worth $20 million. He also has an option for next season that is valued at the same price. No buyout is associated with this extension. The 37-year-old right-hander has been especially valuable to the Braves this season. After a rough start, he has had an excellent past two months. His season totals do not jump off the page as they have during other years in his career. However, considering the seasonal struggles for the Braves, he has been a breath of fresh air.
Charlie Morton’s Season
The season began in a difficult fashion for Charlie Morton. While he had a winning record (2-1) through his first five starts, his other statistics are quite alarming. His ERA was trending towards five, and he had given up 15 earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. Couple this with a negative WPA and an opponent’s BABIP of .300, and things weren’t looking good. That being said, he did strike out 33 batters and hit the zone at a 65% rate. The month of May yielded fairly similar results, however lady luck had a hand to play. Morton gave up 18 runs in the month, but only 12 were earned. Opponents also had a BABIP of .333 in the month. So, Morton ran into a little dry spell where fortune is concerned.
Then, June arrived and Charlie Morton came to life. He went 3-1 in the month with a sparkling 2.73 ERA. Opponents barely hit Morton, posting a .163 average and a .192 slugging percentage. Luck turned in his favor as well, as the BABIP dropped to .225. He continued this torrid pace into July, although he would slow down a bit. His ERA for the month was 3.68 and opponents jumped to a .210 average against him. Still, though, he went undefeated and posted 35 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Finally, August, where he continued to shine, despite losing two contests. His ERA was 2.83 and opponents struggled to a .192 average against him. In short, this contract extension proves that general manager Alex Anthopolous has found the Braves rotational anchor. For Charlie Morton, it’s only a matter of continuing to prove his worth.
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