The Astros are not planning to issue a qualifying offer to right-hander Charlie Morton, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). That’s a rather surprising turn of events for the veteran hurler, who has excelled over the past two seasons in Houston.
What’s most interesting about this news is that it would appear to suggest the Astros are ready to move on. That’s not entirely clear from this decision alone, to be sure, but it seems from an outside perspective that Morton would be a good buy at $17.9MM for a single season. Given his stated uncertainty about pitching much longer, and his interest in returning to Houston, Morton may well have been a candidate to accept a QO.
This call could, then, open the door for a few other teams to get in on Morton. He has made clear he’d like to land in the mid-Atlantic, owing to family considerations. If that preference holds, then most of the contending teams on the eastern seaboard figure to place calls. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Morton will now evidently be available without the need to surrender draft compensation.