By Jason Shetler
The Charlie Morton Era in Pittsburgh officially came to end, as he was dealt to the east side of the state to the Philadelphia Phillies. Morton had been a fixture in the Pirates rotation over the last few years, most notably in 2013 when the Bucs snapped their string of 20 consecutive losing seasons. Morton had shown flashes of being an above average starter, but he also frustrated fans with inconsistency and health issues, making him quite a polarizing figure.
The Pirates added Jon Niese to their rotation, and now with Morton gone, another starting pitcher is in order. The trade frees up the Pirates for $8 million, which Morton is owed in 2016. While the move is clearly a salary dump, there is certainly motive behind it, as it pertains to the Pirates having even more resources now to go out and pursue someone like Scott Kazmir, who they were interested in at the Winter Meetings.
From the Phillies perspective, they get a starter who has posted some of the best groundball rates since 2011, which is the kind of pitcher they need for their ballpark. The Phillies are currently in rebuilding mode, so acquiring Morton gives them a serviceable veteran starter who can fill a rotation spot.