MLB Rumors: The Atlanta Braves and free agent pitcher Charlie Morton have agreed to terms on a one year, $15 million deal, per multiple reports.
The 37 year old righthander spent the previous two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, putting up a 3.33 ERA in 232.2 IP, with a 2.92 FIP. Morton finished third in the American League Cy Young Award balloting in 2019 and 21st in the A.L. MVP voting when he put up a 3.05 ERA in 33 starts for the Rays. Morton had a 4.74 ERA in 38 innings over 9 starts in 2020, though with a 3.45 FIP.
Interestingly, at a time when most teams are evaluating the market and playing things slow, the Braves have quickly signed two veteran pitchers to one year deals, having inked Drew Smyly to a one year, $11 million deal a week ago. We noted that Smyly went more than four innings just twice in 2020, with a high of 5.1 IP. Morton, meanwhile, went more than five innings just twice in 13 combined regular season and post season starts in 2020, topping out at 5.2 IP. One wonders if the Braves are planning on a five and dive strategy for a segment of their rotation in 2021.
The consensus seemed to be that Morton wanted to stay in the southeast, and Atlanta obviously fits that bill. He is also joining a contender — after spending the early part of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Morton has pitched in the postseason each of the last four years, and would seem likely to return to the postseason again in 2021.