Phillies Add RHP Morton in Trade

The Phillies acquired RHP Charlie Morton from the Pirates for Clearwater RHP David Whitehead per MLBTR, http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/12/phillies-acquire-charlie-morton-from-pirates.html.  Morton has avearged between 5-6 IP per game in 69 starts over the past 3 seasons.  The Phillies designated recently claimed right-handed reliever A.J. Achter to make room for Morton.  If he clears waivers, he’ll likely be assigned to LHV.

69 thoughts on “Phillies Add RHP Morton in Trade

  1. seems like a good move. I’ve always liked Whitehead. Had him in my top 20-30 last 2 yrs. He never got much love on this site.

  2. Nice deal for the Phils, low risk/potentially mid-high reward. If he’s healthy, he soak up innings which means less pressure of Nola/Hoff/VV and little chance we’ll have to see Buchanan or Asher on the mound. Harrison’s money is the only guaranteed cash on the books for next year so the money isn’t a problem. And the Phils get potentially two years of control of Morton. If he pitches great, the Phils can demand a better package selling that Morton is controllable for 1 1/2 years as opposed to a rental. If he’s just average the Phils can hold onto him and shop him next winter or have him soak up innings in ’17. And if he’s bad or hurt, the Phils can simply pay the buyout and walk away. I think it’s safe to assume neither Whitehead nor Achter are potential long term difference makers so I think it’s two thumbs up.

  3. Well 9 million for this guy, God I wish I could pitch. His numbers stink, but in todays game not much of a gamble. Only one year and maybe flip him for something down the line.

    1. I here you. I look at the Buchanans and Aschers and say heck its worth the risk to try and make to a Morton or Kendrick level. I mean its nice to dream of being a Halladay but shoot if you can just hang in and eat innings for rebuilding teams or as a nominal 5th or 6th starter…..$9,000,000 contracts should set you for life!

  4. I just saw that and commented on a different thread, but does anyone know how this went down. Swapped guys named Arauz as well. Appel over Fisher raises this deal in my eyes.

    1. The pitcher Arauz looks to have good metrics with swing and miss ability.
      The infielder Arauz, was something special, but I guess the logjam with all the young LA infielders, some high priced like Brito and Gamboa, then there are those like Canelo et al, made him surplus

      1. Here’s a little tidbit I found about Harold Arauz, from a 2014 prospect chat (sounds pretty meh if you ask me):

        Dustin (Houston): How close was Harold Arauz of the GCL Astros to making this list? I felt that outside of a couple of poor outings, he had a very impressive US debut.
        Ben Badler: He’s an interesting sleeper, but not a real candidate for this list. He’s a strike-thrower who throws a ton of cutters that get up to the low-90s that he uses to get weak contact.

        http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2014-gcl-top-20-prospects-chat/

        1. I’d take him, the pitcher….Jon Arauz was caught in a logjam of sorts in the middle infield. But I still liked him, oh well.

          1. I would say that Arauz, at age 17, clearly stood out among the other Phillies middle infield prospects in the GCL. No doubt that’s why the Astros wanted him. He’s very young and very far from the majors, but has a lot of upside.

            If the Phillies can get Appel straightened out, v2 of this trade is clearly better than v1 for the Phillies. If not, and if Arauz develops into a good player, v2 is better than v1 for the Astros.

            1. For Arauz, IMO, we are looking at 4 years down the road at a minimum before he sees Minute Maid. Have to think Jose Altuve will still be there at age 30, though he is a FA in 2018. Carlos Correa stays at ss. But lots can happen before then in the next 3/4 years..

            2. Agree bak. Saw enough of Arauz to see how we stood our amongst his older peers. I honestly winced when I say his name added, but Appel wouldnt be the first early rd selection to take more time to develop than initially hoped for. They might need to take a look at reforming his delivery in ST – but he still has upside as a starter and could thrive as a late inning bull pen arm if the starting gig doesn’t stick. Both teams got what they wanted here. But what’s not to like from the Phillies POV? They did brilliantly

  5. I liked Fisher, but to get Appel seems huge. Do we have any insight on what happened? Does this make the deal better or is it a wash?

  6. I was OK with Giles Deal, v.1, not overly excited, but OK with it.

    Giles Deal, v.2, is a winner – a top 50 prospect, the equivalent of a top 75 prospect plus other stuff. A big boost to the pitching.

    This is not the Kimbrel deal, but, nevertheless, the Phils’ front office deserves high marks.

    The Giles deal, the Kimbrel deal, and the Shelby Miller deal, in quick succession, should serve as a cautionary tale to those that throw around terms like “once-in-a-lifetime” and “outlier”.

    The market is not what Keith Law says it is. The market is made by baseball’s front offices and determined by the usual forces in a market economy.

    1. “This is not the Kimbrel deal…”

      Yes it is. Appell and Velasquez is equivalent to Margot and Guerra. Both packages are ridiculous overpays for a reliever.

      1. I think they were overpays as well, but with Giles it’s a bit more difficult to gauge given the number of years of cheap control remaining. Then you look at the Shelby Miller debacle and think that perhaps front office types are starting to devalue prospects a bit – perhaps not a formalized trend as much as there are new GMs in control who may not feel the same way about prospect valuation.

        Phillies did great here though. I can’t people are still disputing this

      2. (1) I think Margot is CLEARLY a better prospect than Appell at this point. By a lot. Probably similar ceiling, with a much greater chance of reaching it.

        (2) I think the years of control on Giles outweighed the fact that Kimbel is a bit better, more “proven.” I think that it as it should be, though I had my doubts that the market would agree.

        That said, yes they are both overpays, and the Giles deal was great for the Phillies.

    1. Thank goodness for Fisher’s physical. I like Jonathan Arauz more than most, but I’d rather have another major league ready pitcher with upside.

    2. It sounds like the Phillies did what really good businesses and negotiators did, when they found out that one of the pieces was not sufficient, they went to the more desperate party (the Astros) and asked for more consideration to keep the deal alive. That was a classic negotiation power move – I’m impressed!!!

  7. Wow, to get Appel is such a different deal. I hate losing Arauz but he’s just an asset at this point and he was cashed in at top value. If they can get Appel fixed, what an arm he has. Damn, that LHV rotation looks good. Velazquez, Thompson, Appel, Eflin, Asher. There’s also a chance Morgan gets sent down if Oberholtzer gets the 5th spot as expected. Big winner? Pullin, he gets to play at AA now.

    1. Ya, I’m excited…was just talking on another site when this deal was announced that they need to find two high end SP’s in the next couple drafts. May still be true but they just got the best shot for a 1 or 2 starting pitcher even though he’s a gamble based on his minor league performance so far.

  8. I really liked Jonathan Arauz. He wasn’t as slightly built as the other LA middle infielders at the lower levels of the organization. He looked like he might actually have some pop. But, acquiring an arm like Appel, I’ll get over it.

    1. It’s crazy the difference of opinions on this site compared to tgp. Over there their were quite a few people bashing the new deal saying Appel is to old to improve. I like the positivity over here. I think Philly won this trade. Two possible #2 pitchers for a closer. Plus a control freak pitcher who was just drafted last year. Seems like a good deal to me.

    2. Jim, I hope that Jonathan Arauz does not come back to haunt us like the Ryne Sandberg trade of the early 1980’s. Mark Appell did not produce under Houston’s pitching development staff which is considered excellent by BA. Let’s hope that Appell responds well to a change of scenery and can be a productive MLB starter or back end reliever(like Wade Davis). The including of prospects by Matt Klentak has me worried a bit.

  9. Appel too? And nobody but the baseball prospect wonks seemed to notice. That is staggering. To pick up two possible top of the rotation arms in exchange for a close a promising but far away low minors middle infielder is pretty amazing. This deal has the possibility of being a game changer. Frankly, I’m amazed and, while Fisher looked to be a fine prospect, we have a lot of outfield prospects and I’m not sure he’s better than the top tier guys we have anyway. Velazquez and Appel and all of our young starter prospects stay put? Wow!!! Well done Matt Klentak.

    1. Yes, and I meant to say we were giving up a young, top notch closer. I get that Kenny Giles is on his way out. I love Kenny Giles, but he’s going to be worth 2-3 WAR a year – very good and very critical, but nothing like two good rotation pieces. Excellent trade!!!

  10. Let me get this straight … a 16-year-old who impressed in the GCL is the throw-in in a trade to the Astros. You know what they say about history …

    Honestly, I can’t fault the Phils on this. Appel has been underwhelming in the pros, but he was dominant at Stanford. Hopefully the Phils can tease something out of him.

    I reserve the right to complain if Arauz develops into a top prospect (which I fear he might).

    1. Mike – but only if Appel doesn’t develop into a number 2 starter, as unlikely as that may. But perhaps as equally unlikely as Arauz developing into a top prospect. And I’m all in on Arauz. I had him top 15 at the time of the Hamels deal. Though of course, the system has undergone a transformation since then.

      1. Don’t get me wrong … I do the deal 10 times out of 10. I’d say there is a far greater likelihood of Appel becoming a No. 2 starter than Arauz becoming, say, a first-division regular at SS. It’s just that the Philadelphia in me can’t resist imagining the kid transforming into the next One That Got Away.

  11. I have a little different take on Morton. I don’t think they want to flip him, or would even be able to. He’s just an average arm. I don’t really think he’s here to “soak up innings” either. With every other starter under 30 (I doubt Harrison pitches), they were looking for a staff leader. With the experience in this organization, they know all about Morton. Here’s a couple tidbits I noticed: of course, the Halladay link was noted already. Any pitcher who copies anything about Doc is probably a leader type. Secondly, Morton has led the NL in hit batsman the past two years. Tells me he knows how to pitch and knows you have to pitch inside. I think this is one of the hardest things for a young pitcher to learn. In conclusion, I think Morton is your new pitching coach on the field.

    1. He does like to pitch inside….47 hit batters in the last approx 400 innings pitched. In fact leads the MLB. There may be a few umpire warnings coming down the road in 2016.

  12. He also has a 42% ground ball rate, plus he pitched in harder div . 1 site had him under 4.00 Era this yr. The Rotation now is much better then last yr . AAA rotation is light yrs better. The bullpen and position players with Franco at 3rd Herrera in cf plus ss, RF having some experience this team will be better. Plus the young talent coming up within the yr. The ceiling maybe 500 the cellar my be last yr. I think our div is weaker then last too. I think the went 38 /44 last in the 2nd have. We’re already better then them. Just like last yr the major league team will be changing alot . I wish we had a different pitching coach I never hear anything about me. We will see about these in about 3 yrs Appel is the one that scares me a little.

  13. Any more surprises? Getting Appel is a pretty big deal. Giving up Jonathon Arauz is a very small deal right now but could be a big deal in a bunch of years. If someone had told you in 2013 that the Phils drafted Appel and Crawford in the same draft, this site would have been ecstatic. We wouldn’t have cared about Ben Holmes or Jason Monda. Appel looks a little more human now but he was a former 1:1 and he pitched in AAA last year. He could be a starter for the Phils sometime next year. Everyone take a knee and bow your heads, “Thank you baseball gods for providing such a haul of talented players for two very good but dunsel pieces.” Okay, dunsel is a little over-dramatic but maybe excess pieces that don’t really help right now. The Phils don’t need a shutdown closer for 3 wins a week. You might as well put him behind a plate of glass with a sign, “break glass in case the Phils go over 82 wins.”

      1. I think the Cubs are the best team in baseball, just as I think the 2011 Phillies were the best team in baseball.

        World Series, who knows?

        1. Paraphrasing the A’s Billy Beane said “my job is to get us into the playoffs but it is a shootout from there and a lot can go wrong”.

  14. Harang, Williams,O’Sullivan,SevGon,Billingsley and Correia combined for 82 GS 16-42 5.67 ERA in 455.1 IP and allowed 287 ER.

    Then add Buchanan, Asher ( expected to become a reliever) and Aumont combined “effort” of 23 GS 2-16 7.78 ERA in 108.2 IP and allowed 94 ER.

    105 of 162 starters ( nearly 2/3 of starts) combined for 18-58 6.08 ERA in 564 IP (5.4 IP/GS).

    Hellickson, Morton and new additions have to keep the Phillies competitive and at least hold our attention for the whole season.

  15. This may be stating the obvious, but I think that this signals that the team won’t be signing a low end FA starting pitcher after all. Rotation seems full.

    1. Depends how you define low end. If its a guy who will be given an opportunity to ‘compete’ for a rotation spot [queue pop up of Edwin Jackson in back drop], then I think we’re likely to see another FA signing. If we’re talking guaranteed rotation spot type signing, probably not low end, but I think high end is still a possibility. If a guy like Fister squeezes through the market and could be had on a 1-yr deal, I’d certainly be interested. Oberholtzer might serve better as a swing man anyway

      1. You may be right …. but to push back a bit:

        On the “opportunity to compete” guys they seem to have plenty candidates already for that last spot; not sure they need/want another.

        On the Fister type … I guess if he slips through on a one year deal, maybe (with the thought of moving him at the deadline). I don’t really think he will slip by, though – and if he does, he likely would prefer a one year deal with a contender if one presents itself.

        Looming over both of the above, the young guys that may/will be getting a shot. VV is of course a possibility from day 1 which would make the above moot. Then two more guys who could be up mid season.

        That said, IF Fister does slip through for a one year deal … of course they should grab him if he’ll sign here.

      2. Other possibilities for ‘buy low’ starters are Justin Masterson and Mat Latos. I think attention should be given to available arms for the pen. In descending order of preference, I have Tyler Clippard, Carlos Villanueva, Neil Cotts, Matt Thornton, Brandon League, Jim Johnson and Rafael Betancourt.

        An OF I’d look in on is Ryan Raburn on the assumption that Jeff Francoeur will not be re-signed..

        1. I don’t want a 35-year old Raburn. Clippard or Villanueva or Cotts at the right price is okay. No on Thornton at 39. League is intriguing, but not willing to invest many $ in him. I think this is Johnson’s alternating bad year coming up. Betancourt is a joke.

    2. Nola
      Eickhoff
      Morton
      Hellickson
      Oberholtzer
      VV
      Appel
      Morgan
      Buchanan
      Asher
      Gonzalez
      Thompson
      Eflin

      Yeah, seems pretty full, even in AAA. Did I forget anybody?

      1. That’s another point that I omitted – just where do you stash the guys who lose out on the 5th slot? Some of those guys could be used in relief, either in Philly or AAA, but that’s an excess of three already. And 8 of them pretty much HAVE to start.

        Oh, and you forgot Harrison, though I’m kind of assuming at this point that he’s done.

      2. That’s not as robust a list as it appears. Haggle over details, but the ML rotation could look something this:
        Morton
        Hellickson
        Nola
        Eickhoff
        Morgan

        Right now I find it exceptional reasonable for both the below players to break with the big club, either as 6th starters, swing men, or long men.
        Oberholtzer
        VV

        That leaves the AAA rotation as:
        Appel
        Thompson
        Eflin
        Buchanan
        Asher
        Severino

        Harrison could create a good problem as well. I would condone an aggressive approach to adding a FA starter, but at the back of the market there are always a few starters who emerge as exceptional values. I’d say we remain patient, but keep our eyes open

        1. I’ve thought about the 6-man rotation option, but I don’t know if the team would really consider that. It would be a mistake to put VV in the bullpen already, so I’m leaning toward him starting in AAA. Just the fact that we’re thinking about a 6-man rotation means we have a lot of candidates to look at.

          1. Buchanan is done. His only opportunity to stay in the organization is as a long man. He’s not good enough for the big league rotation and there aren’t enough spots available at AAA, now that they have Appel.

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