Charlie Morton, SP: Club option $20 million
Charlie Morton is coming up on 40 years old, and reports have indicated there's a chance he makes this decision easy for the Braves by simply retiring. But assuming he's game to keep the wheels moving on his MLB career in 2023, what should the Braves decide?
An aging pitcher is a scary element to keep inside your starting rotation. Morton's blistering issue is a pretty typical pitcher ailment, but you start to wonder about the possibility of aging injuries creating trouble for pitchers this late.
Yet, the two-time World Series champion performed well in 2023 with a 3.64 ERA and a 3.87 FIP. He let runners on base with a 1.427 WHIP, but largely got out of trouble and was available enough to pitch 30 games, even at 39 years old.
Morton probably wants to make another push at a title, knowing how sweet it is to win, and would surely love to make his last year a title-winning season with the team that drafted him in 2002.
$20 million is steep, Spotrac estimates his market value is only $16.7 million. Morton's return might be contingent on the Braves picking up his option in the first place, so that number may be partially misguided.
Yet, it's worth asking why Morton and the Braves didn't get an agreement on the option done before the postseason, since it was rumored to be a topic of discussion in mid-September.
Though sentimentally, there is every reason to bring Morton back, the Braves need to be more aggressive with his spot in the rotation.
Verdict: Pass, look for younger options at similar price point