The Atlanta Braves are bringing back Charlie Morton for one more year, as the club has agreed to exercise the 39-year-old pitcher's $20 million option. The right-hander posted a solid 2023 campaign, holding 14 wins and 12 losses, and a 3.64 ERA across 163.1 innings pitched.
The move comes after Morton posted reliable innings in a shallow rotation. However, injuries came late, as he missed the playoffs due to a blister on his throwing hand. Barring any additional injuries, Morton will be relied on to eat innings for the 2024 campaign.
He generally keeps his games to below four runs, while putting his team in a position to win. Furthermore, as the Braves seek to find another starter or two, they can rely on a pitcher who has fought through many high-pressure innings while staying a mentor for the young starters.
According to Jeff Passan who broke the story first, "There was significant discussion within the organization about declining it, but ultimately the Braves decided to bring back Morton, who is beloved in Atlanta, for another season."
It will be interesting to see how available free agents fall in place. Even though Morton will be making a higher base salary than Ronald Acuna Jr., the Braves will still be looking to add to the starting pitcher depth.
If Atlanta can add some additional pieces, Morton is an excellent option as a 4th or 5th starter. The veteran pitcher turns 40 next week, and there have been some discussions about retirement. Yet, it seems as if there is some gas in the tank, contributing to what should be an early World Series favorite.
The pitching market has looked inflated to start the offseason, yet there could be some additional moves in the coming weeks to make Braves' fans much more confident in the team's pitching paired with its historic offense.