The Phillies just announced that they have acquired right-hander Charlie Morton from the Pirates for minor league right-hander David Whitehead.
Morton had a 3.52 ERA from 2013-2014, but he underwent hip surgery last September and didn’t make his season debut this year until late May. The 32-year-old ended up posting a 4.81 ERA and 96/41 K/BB ratio in 129 innings over 23 starts. However, his peripherals weren’t much different than what we’ve seen in the past and he was again among the league-leaders in ground ball rate.
If Phillies fans squint, they might be able to see Roy Halladay again. Of course, Morton changed his delivery a couple of years back to emulate the former Cy Young Award winner. At the very least, Morton will eat some innings for the rebuilding club, but a strong first half could make him trade bait. Morton is owed $8 million in 2016, with a $9.5 million club option for 2017 or a $1 million buyout.
Whitehead, who turns 24 in April, owns a 3.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over two seasons in the minors. He pitched at High-A Clearwater this year.
As for the Pirates, they are presumably trying to clear some salary to make a run at one of the free agent starters remaining on the market. The club has been connected to the likes of Scott Kazmir, Mat Latos, and Justin Masterson in recent weeks.