Charlie Morton could be making a return to the Atlanta Braves in 2021 MLB free agency.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Braves are interested in adding the 37-year-old right-hander to their on-the-rise starting rotation. Morton was originally drafted by the Braves back in 2002 out of high school, but only played one season with the big league ball club back in his rookie season of 2008. He is best known for his seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly could help bring this young rotation along
Atlanta signed left-hander Drew Smyly to a one-year deal earlier this offseason. Smyly pitched well in limited work with the San Francisco Giants last year. With him in his early 30s, there is definitely less risk than going with the 37-year-old. However, Morton was an integral part of two World Series rotations recently with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros before that.
The idea behind adding both veteran pitchers in 2021 MLB free agency is to eat innings and provide frontline depth to a rotation that has not consistently figured out how to pitch deep into ball games. Mike Soroka was an All-Star, but he ruptured his Achilles. Max Fried was outstanding this year, albeit in a shortened season. Ian Anderson came alive in the latter part of the campaign.
Anderson and Fried will be part of the rotation right away, while it may take some time for Soroka to work his way back. Guys like Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright will be in the mix to compete for a starting rotation spot as well. By adding Smyly and aggressively pursuing Morton, the Braves are attacking last year’s team’s greatest weakness. It was the reason they did not win the NL pennant.
Atlanta is a World Series contender already, but adding Morton only reaffirms that notion in 2021.