Charlie Morton is the deepest thinker on the Pirates’ roster.
Ask him a question about pitching or anything else related to baseball, or just life in general, and the right-hander always gives a thoughtful and detailed answer.
With that in mind, it is easy to wonder how Morton will respond when the Pirates convene for the start of spring training in 2016, the final year of his three-year, $21-million contract, after the way his 2015 season ended.
Morton failed to make it past the third inning this past Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals with the Pirates facing elimination from the National League Central race. He gave up five runs and five hits in two-plus innings as the Cardinals rolled to an 11-1 victory in the second game of a day-night doubleheader at PNC Park to wrap up their third straight division title.
Morton was devastated.
His lip was quivering when manager Clint Hurdle came to the mound to pull him from the game. He was still emotional when meeting with reporters in the clubhouse after the game, his eyes glistening as he choked back tears.
“This is a game I come into and I want to win,” Morton said. “Folks showed up tonight, everybody’s excited and I go out there and I give it up. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Even though the Pirates are in the postseason for a third straight year, Morton will not pitch again this season.
They need just four starters because of the off days built into the postseason schedule and those will be right-hander Gerrit Cole, left-hander Francisco Liriano, righty A.J. Burnett and lefty J.A. Happ.
The Pirates also don’t think Morton is equipped to pitch Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"