The Braves addressed their rotation when they signed left-hander Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11MM contract last week. But that may not be it for Atlanta, which has “strong interest” in free-agent right-hander Charlie Morton, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Signing in Atlanta would be a full-circle move for Morton, who was a third-round pick of the team in 2002 and someone who made his major league debut with the club in 2008. Morton then moved on to the Pirates and Phillies from 2009-16, but he didn’t turn into a high-end starter until ’17 as a member of the Astros. Since then, Morton has been a terrific regular-season pitcher and a lights-out playoff performer. The 37-year-old owns a 3.34 ERA/3.27 FIP with 10.64 K/9, 2.98 BB/9 and a 48.4 percent groundball rate through 546 1/3 innings over the past four seasons.
Morton has said in the past that he would like to stay on the East Coast, which could benefit the Braves if they do earnestly pursue him in free agency. And even after signing Smyly, there’s still room for at least one more proven rotation acquisition. Along with Smyly, the Braves have Max Fried, Mike Soroka and Ian Anderson as set starters for next year, but there is space for a wily vet like Morton.