I was shopping at a local mall when I got an alert from a Pirates app. Charlie Morton has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league pitcher David Whitehead. At first I was very surprised by reading this but I knew it was going to lead to changes in the Pirates rotation. With the acquisition of Jon Niese and the trade of Charlie Morton the rotation stands as: Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese and Jeff Locke. I like the move overall for a couple of reasons. First, Pittsburgh has now dumped the salaries of Morton, Walker and Alvarez freeing up more money to help improve the team. Also, Morton has shown flashes, but overall has never been that good since the Pirates acquired him. He pitched in some very important games last year and the outcomes were not outstanding.
With the trade of Morton, Neil Huntington can now focus on signing another starting pitcher. I have a good buddy of mine who is a diehard Pirates fan. All we seem to talk about is the starting rotation and first base. Both Morton and Jeff Locke seem to get a lot of the negativity when we discuss the Pirates rotation. With Morton gone, now we will wait and see who is going to be the person to step up and be either our 4th or 5th starter. Do the Pirates wait it out and let Jamison Tailion or Tyler Glasnow move up mid season or do they go out and sign a veteran pitcher to replace Morton?
From what I am reading, there are a few names being thrown around. Mat Latos, Doug Fister, Justin Masterson and Scott Kazmir. I don’t see them signing Kazmir because he will want to much money. Fister and Latos would both be quality pickups but I really like Doug Fister. He still has a lot of arm left and would fit well as a 4th starter in the rotation. Masterson has had success in the past but the last two years have been bad for him. With Ray Searage, I think he could turn him around and be another quality starter. Masterson would sign for cheap, since he hasn’t drawn a lot of attention elsewhere. As in any professional sport, anybody can land anywhere. Plenty of pitchers and relieve pitchers are still in the market. The Pirates may sign who I have previously mentioned or go out and find a better fit.
No matter what happens, I believe in the Pirates and the pitching staff they currently have. They have some other positions they need to fill but if they go out and sign another starting pitcher first, I would be OK with it.