The Braves have signed right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year, $20 million extension with a $20 million club option for 2023. The club option does not include a buyout, as the team announced Monday:
Morton has had a very solid 2021 season after rejoining the club that drafted him back in 2002. In 28 starts, Morton has a 3.47 ERA with a 1.063 WHIP, 185 strikeouts, and 51 walks over 158 innings. And in a year where the Braves’ rotation has been affected by injuries, Morton has been a beacon of stability and has avoided the IL all season. His return gives the Braves four reliable starters heading into next season (Morton, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, and Huascar Ynoa), and it could complete their rotation, depending on whether Mike Soroka is able to return from a pair of Achilles tears.
The Morton extension, which will provide the veteran starter with the highest single-season salary of his career at 38 years old, should help set the market for starters such as Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, and Marcus Stroman who will hit the market this offseason. Especially after a season where plenty of clubs have been adversely affected by their lack of starting pitching depth, dependable starters should be at a major premium this winter.