Charlie Morton Expects to be Ready on Opening Day

In an article from Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette, Charlie Morton said that he expects to be ready to pitch on Opening Day. Morton had surgery on a torn labrum in his right hip. In the article, he looks back at the recovery timeline from when he had the same procedure on his left hip in 2011 and believes that they were “being pretty conservative” last time when he returned on April 14th after undergoing the surgery on October 10th. Since Morton had the surgery two weeks earlier this time around, that same conservative approach would have him ready by Opening Day.

If the Pirates wanted to, they could take it slow with Morton early in the year. The season doesn’t start until April 6th this year and with two early days off, Pittsburgh will need just one start from their fifth starter before April 21st. If Morton is ready by Opening Day or shortly thereafter, the Pirates will have a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett, Morton and Vance Worley or Jeff Locke, which would eliminate the need for another top starter, though that doesn’t mean the Pirates won’t continue to look.

Brink also noted in a tweet that Neal Huntington said the Pirates were comfortable with their depth in the rotation. As pointed out in an article from last night, the Pirates have as many as 12 starters that could see time in the majors this upcoming year. Having Morton back and healthy by Opening Day though, would obviously be welcomed by the team.

  • McCarthy is a lot better than Volquez, and Morton is also better. Lost amidst a lot of luck for Volquez this past season is that he has had six consecutive seasons with a FIP above 4.00. Last year it was 4.15. In contrast, three of Morton’s last four years have been at 3.77 or better.

    Morton’s actual ERA over the past four years is 3.72. Volquez is at 4.48 over that time span.

    • I agree Morton is a head above the other 2 names.. However , I would take Volquez for less years and less money than McCarthy . The one thing you can bank w Eddy , even if he did have an unforeseen regression w the same coaching , is we will still get 190 innings .

  • I don’t know if I’ve ever rooted for a guy as much as Chuck. That said, most times it’s like rooting for Charlie Brown to not kick the ball from Lucy’s hold. You just see it coming and it’s not going to end well.

    • Another good point touched on… He ‘seems’ , I admit I haven’t looked deeply , to always be at his best inside the central division .

  • Is it going to be a concern that the Pirates will lack pitchers with options in both the rotation and bullpen next season? Locke and Worley are out of options, of the projected bullpen members Watson and Holdzkom are the only ones with options. You can utilize the depth when injuries occur but with under-performance you’ll face losing a player.

  • not surprised NH is confident with the “depth.” that is reasonable. the depth is great.

    But he said nothing about being confident or satisfied with the upside. If they were really that “in” on B McCarthy, then they HAVE to still be shopping.

    Still a few good pitchers on the last year of their deals potentially on the trade market. there were J Zimmermann trade rumors, plus Ian Kennedy.

    Satisfied with the rotation as it is now.

    But man… Cole, Liriano, Zimmermann/Kennedy, Burnett, and Morton…. phewwwwwwww.

  • If we were willing to offer Brandon McCarthy something close to what the Dodgers gave him why wouldn’t they give 9-10 million dollars to Volquez ? He’d be our #3 starter and make Aj and Worley a REAL solid #4 and #5

    • Brandon McCarthy >>>> Volquez

      • I think four > are a bit too much jaygray.. he isn’t that much better

        • Maybe 3 > signs better?

          • Yes, McCarthy is a lot better than Volquez. Morton is also better. Lost amidst a lot of luck for Volquez this past season is that he has had six consecutive seasons with a FIP above 4.00. Last year it was 4.15. In contrast, three of Morton’s last four years have been at 3.77 or better.

            Morton’s actual ERA over the past four years is 3.72. Volquez is at 4.48 over that time span.

  • If Morton is anything more than a 5th starter Id rather not have him in the rotation at all. How about a long reliever? Does he have good stuff. Sure. Does he have #3 or 4 stuff. Sure. Is he consistent? NO Do you feel comfortable as your 3 or 4 starter? I sure as heck don’t. If the rumors are true that the Pirates were in it to the end on McCarthy who ended up signing for 12 million (after they agreed to 13 million with Liriano) a year than I don’t think the Pirates are comfortable with Morton as their 4th starter. If we would have landed Mccarthy, what would that have put the payroll at? Close to 100 mil by opening day?. I think the Pirates are definitely looking for a #3 starter that would push Burnett to #4 and spend around 95-100 million dollars in 2015 . In my opinion They want to let Worley,Morton and Locke battle for the 5th spot

    • I def wouldn’t call him inconsistent … It did take him a little extra time to put it all together. When he is healthy he is actually a very reliable guy.. So when healthy…
      He has had 2 surgeries now.. But not arm … Hips…
      PREDICTION : If He is really healthy to start the year… Chrlie Morton starts 31 games w an ERA under 4.

      • Yeah but he has so many debacles . When are we going to hold this guy to the same standard as everyone else? Is Morton getting all these chances because he was a NH acquisition? In my opinion he just way to up and down. Even when his numbers are good. or he’s cruising along in a game. So often there’s that inning where he completely falls apart. I’ve never seen a pitcher that is so volatile from pitch to pith inning to inning. His command comes and goes. He hit a ton of batters last year. i think he was at or near the top . He just makes you scratch your head. I just don’t think he will ever fully get it.

        • One thing I love , is game 3 vs Cards in 2013 playoff… Icewater…

          But we all love AJ who left via a temper tantrum cus everyone on the planet knew Cole was getting the ball for game 5…
          AJ will give us 200 innings.. for my money .. I shut him down in the post season… Or preform the Heimlich…

          • We still lost the game. The other pitcher must have had colder ice water. No offense ? yes but it’s the playoffs. The greatest offenses get shut down by these playoff aces

            • We did lose . i remember wanting them to skip Charlie…There was enough rest to go 3 man rotation…

              I live in Scranton.. I go everytime Indy is here… Saw Charlie give p 11 in 3inn… Heater was flat, 87… I thought …He is finished…

              Dr. Searage did his reconstructive work and Charlie showed me poise that night that you cannot put a price on.

        • He is held to the same standard. Over the last 4 years, 3.74 era,, 3.76 fi, 55% career ground ball rate. Yes, he is inconsistent, yes he will lay an occasional egg, but its not like you are going to call on him for a 1 game playoff or a game 7. This is baseball, the ultimate game of averages, and average Charlie Morton has been a perfectly good major league pitcher.

          • I don’t care what they say about the W/L stat from a pitcher. You look at his W/L record in his career and it paints a vivid picture

            • Of the quality of the team around him, from how good the offense is to how decent his defense behind him is. Surely, he isnt an ace. But if Wins and Losses judge how good a pitcher is, any pitcher on a crappy team is also useless. Dont pitch for the Astros, it means no matter your ERA, FIP, xFIP you arent good.

            • I don’t care about W/L records at all.

            • Yea W/L loss stat perfectly paints the vivid picture that Nolan Ryan was an ordinary pitcher. (sarcasm font)

        • It’s his stuff that keeps him in the starting rotation. He has nasty stuff when healthy, but he horrible when dinged up.

    • Three of the last 4 years he has given us at least 20 starts .. and era under 4… so maybe im not really out on a limb

      • I understand what you are saying, but I just do not see it. We have 5 better starters already on this team. I thought he had turned a corner after 2013. I spoke for him because I thought he recovered from TJS better than Waino. I thought 2014 would be his year. This is a guy who should be throwing mid 90’s but has to take some off his fastball to keep his command. and it has nothing o do with over throwing. His fastball velo continues to drop

        • Ok we get it you don’t like Morton and its not based on statistics. lets move on

          • There are two concurrent things going on, one is a long view, the other is a single game. And while Chuck continues to compile satisfactory peripherals, when one is emotionally involved in the single game, one is not rooting for the peripherals. One is rooting for him to get the hell through the sixth inning.

            • I’m surprised , my friend .. 20 , 26 and 29 starts . That is Charlie 3 of the last 4 seasons .. When healthy , he is steadily working to improve his efficiency and going deeper into games… Just on the surface in those 3 seasons , a very good ERA and groundball royalty equates to a commodity.

        • You can’t be counting Locke ? Your description of inconsistency is the back of his baseball card.. I love Worley , but he does not yet possess the same body of work , or velocity or nasty stuff or stunning GO rate of Chuck..

  • This is great news, and a bit unexpected. No reason to try to sign Volquez then, or to try to trade Snider for pitching. Morton is probably better than most other options we could get at this point. Huntington should probably turn his attention to trying to extend Polanco now.

    Seems strange to be this early in the off-season and this low in payroll with what appears to be a fully loaded roster. Maybe this is the year the Bucs could win the division and take a big step in the postseason?

    • Agree…. Agree ………. Agreee ! !

    • Why is there no reason to sign Volquez for 10 million a year? They were going after McCarthy for probably more than 10 mil. McCarthy would have gotten at least 3 years 33 from us if he signed with us over the Dodgers. That tells me they don’t have a whole heck of a lot of confidence in Morton as the 3 or 4 starter. Volquez was one of the better right handers in baseball

      • I love Eddy , and I def won’t object if they sign him… Even w Morton healthy .. I hate saying we are 12 deep with starters.. Paper tiger talk.
        Add Eddy .. I would love as many grown up , big boy proven starters as we can secure.. That is real MLB starting pitching depth.

        • Yes we would have 7 very capable MLB starters not to mention 2 of the top 70 pitching prospects in baseball waiting in the wings in JT and NK and the Brandon Cumpton

          • I’d rather have 1 competent first baseman or two capable catchers instead of 7 pitchers, but that’s me

          • All accurate points.. The 2 young studs will not break camp with the big club. Moreover , Tallion won’t be fully stretched out or have his 100% stuff during the summer… Hitting full stride , barring setbacks , In September.

          • Since Tallion is comming back from surgury and Kingman and Glassnow Do not have any experience above 2a ..lets count them For the “2016” season..”must earn your way” “no free Passes”

        • 12 Nooo..maybe 2 #2 type (Cole, and Lariano) and 3 # 4-5 type (AJ, Worley and Locke) ..so whats wrong with adding Volquez and making the rotation even deeper..Morton comes back if he “performs” we got extra starters to “deal” from if not we are covered..

      • No…..he wasn’t. He barely kept his 5th spot in the rotation last year when everyone else got healthy in the second half. He was decent, and maybe even good, but anything beyond that is a pretty ridiculous statement

    • I disagree..sign Volquez…and if Morton comes back and he is usefull..use the surplus and turn them into prospects…”A” type of prospects..like the Cubs got from the A’s

  • Tho I did see T. Singer say last night the Buc’s were in on B. McCarthy right til the end , when he signed w L.A…
    I was shocked at the dollars & length of contract that guy landed…. Tho he makes a lot of sense for us due to his supreme groundball rate.

  • If they are confident Chuck will be healthy inside the month of April , I can see why they were satisfied w the rotation after locking Frankie..
    If Chuck is ready than that is that. – No worries.

    • Maybe they are staying plugged in to the starting pitcher market but standing pat , buying time to get the latest assessment of Morton’s rate of recovery and projection of return.

      • Im a bit skeptical on this report, but ill admit if he is really anywhere near ready by one month into the season, it stands to reason they will go with a 4 man rotation as long as possible and roll from there. That’d be some type of awesome.

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