Monday, January 16, 2012

Morton Signs, Taillon, Cole Honored

Well, when we said Hanny's deal might start the log rolling, we really didn't expect it to happen quite this quickly. Bill Brink of the Post Gazette reports that Charlie Morton has signed a one-year deal worth $2.445M.

Morton, 28, who earned $441K last year, had a promising 2011, reinventing his delivery by dropping his arm slot. He  went 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA and worked 171-2/3 innings during 29 starts, even with some mid-season down time. His ceiling will depend mightily on how well he learns to handle lefties, who hit .364 off him last season. Righties could only come up with an anemic .220 BA against Morton.

He's hopeful that he can be ready to go by the opening bell; he had fall hip surgery. The Bucs have a fairly forgiving early schedule, so if he can be back full strength by May, there won't be much shuffling of the Pirate rotation.

Morton joined the Pirates in 2009 with Jeff Locke and Gorkys Hernandez in the Nate McLouth deal with the Braves. And hey, unlike some other higher profile trades, not only are all the pieces still in Pittsburgh, but Nate the Great is back, too.

Now only four to go...

In more good news, Jonathan Mayo of wrote that the Bucs have two of the top six RHP prospects in baseball with Jameson Taillon, 20, and Gerrit Cole, 21, ranked #3 and #6. Both are expected to start the year at High A Bradenton.

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