27 Outs Baseball Network

Veteran Charlie Morton Traded for Minor Leaguer David Whitehead

Saturday’s trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates and their cross-state and National League rivals Philadelphia Phillies sends pitcher Charlie Morton to Philadelphia and Minor League pitcher David Whitehead to the Pirates.

Morton, who started his career with the Atlanta Braves in 2008, finished his ninth season in the big leagues, compiling a 9-9 record with a 4.81 ERA for Pittsburgh in 2015. For his career, he’s 45-70 with an ERA of 4.54. Morton’s best season came in 2011, when he made a career-high 29 starts, winning 10 games and possessed a sub-4 ERA.

Whitehead, who was originally drafted in the 36th round by the Blue Jays in 2010, went pro in 2013 after being taken by Philadelphia in the 34th round. In his second season inside the Phillies’ organization, where he spent time with the Williamsport Crosscutters (Short-A) and Clearwater Threshers (Class A-Advanced), he was 13-15 with a 3.65 ERA.

Morton, 32, is going to make $8 million in 2016, and he will be among the more experienced pitchers on the Phillies’ staff. He can become a free agent following the 2016 season, though he has a $9.5 million option for 2017. That option, which was originally a team option, became a mutual option following the trade.

Whitehead will look to expand off of his 2015, in which he made nearly double the starts of 2014. He pitched fairly well early on, going at least six innings in five of his first six starts. Whitehead had some control issues, walking at least three in a game nine times, and four batters in a game four times. He also hit 13 batters last season, and has hit 16 through two seasons.

David had 94/51 K/BB ratio in 135 2/3 innings in 2015. As he goes forward, he will look to keep opponents batting average down, as hitters had their way to the tune of a .291 average. Whitehead only allowed 10 home runs, but 67 earned through 25 starts.

Of course for Whitehead, who had Tommy John surgery and made his first start in 2014, being back on the field is enough to make him happy.

“I talked to my dad a lot and we’ve both been there before, but obviously not on this stage. ‘[You] just have to be confident; you’re there for a reason’ and ‘Get the job done’, said Whitehead upon his first start in 2014.”

Later that 2014 season, Whitehead was a mid-season All-Star for Williamsport of the New York-Penn League. As he progresses in the Pirates system, watch out for the young 23-year-old hurler. He’s ready to prove he belongs.

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