Remember when Charlie Morton did this?
What a tragic and wonderful moment.
It was November 24, 2020, when the Braves did what they’d been doing since 2019, the year after Alex Anthopoulos took over. They signed a veteran to a large 1 year deal. Josh Donaldson started the trend. Dallas Keuchel continued it midseason. In 2020, it continued with Cole Hamels (dear lord) and Marcell Ozuna. In 2021, the Braves inked 2 pitchers early to 1 year deals. One, Morton, worked out well. The other, Drew Smyly (Frowny), not so much.
Morton did what the Braves needed him to do. He started 33 games, pitched 185.2 innings, and provided 24 quality starts on the year. Charlie’s best work came down the stretch. From August on, he was brilliant, starting 12 games, carrying a 2.71 ERA.
In 2021, his 2 fastball usages totaled around 50% and the velo was back to averaging 95. The curveball was utilized 36.7% of the time, the 2nd highest of his career, and the cutter and change made up the difference. It’s no secret that his curve is the dagger but all his pitches graded above average and that was a good sign.
However, the best news is that Charlie actually got better after the sticky ban.
In September of 2021, the Braves got ahead of the offseason by re-upping both Travis d’Arnaud and Charlie Morton.
There’s obviously some risk here now that Morton sustained a broken leg, but I’m guessing that Morton will be just fine, he’ll pitch effectively in the 2022 season and the 2023 option will be a no-brainer.
When the World Series will be being playing in 2022, Charlie Morton will turn 39. And while that is concerning for the option year, his career arc is so bizarre that it just might work out beautifully. After all, 185.2 innings in a year was his 2nd most of his career…at 38 year of age.
I’m glad he’s on our team.