By Jason Shetler
Five years ago, Charlie Morton had one of the worst seasons by a Pirates starting pitcher, as he posted a 7.57 ERA. After changing his approach to a sinkerballer, he bounced back significantly in 2011. Morton has battled injuries the past few years, but still put up good numbers, posting a 3.87 ERA with a 57% groundball rate between 2011 to 2014.
Morton was recovering from hip surgery last offseason, and returned to the Pirates rotation in May. Aside from a really bad outing against the Washington Nationals, he put up a 4.15 ERA in the first half. The second half would present more struggles for him, as he posted a 5.26 ERA, and wasn’t able to step up when the Pirates were looking to capture the NL Central.
So what should the Pirates do with Charlie Morton going forward? – There wouldn’t be much trade value for him to be moved this offseason based on the overall numbers this year. Despite having a 4.81 ERA in 2015, his Fielding Independent Pitching was lower at 4.19, so there is a chance that he could bounce back next season. With Brandon Cumpton and Nick Kingham both recovering from Tommy John surgery, there really aren’t too many internal options who can replace Morton heading into 2016. Tyler Glasnow isn’t likely to make the Opening Day roster due to Super 2 status. Most teams usually don’t have a legitimate #5 starter, so if Morton can be more of the pitcher he was before this year, the Pirates would certainly take that for the back end of the rotation.