MLB News: Atlanta Braves take game one of the World Series at Houston

The New York Yankees lost in the wild card game against the Boston Red Sox, but the postseason marches on. The Houston Astros won over the Red Sox in the ALCS, and the Atlanta Braves won the NLCS. That series also went six games, the Braves winning three days ago 4-2 and moving them on to the World Series against the ALCS Champion Houston Astros.

Last night was the Fall Classic Game One:

The first two games of the 2021 World Series were to be played at MinuteMaid Park In Houston. The middle three at Truist Park in Atlanta and moving back to Houston for the final two games if necessary.

Last night the Astros will send out lefty Framber Valdez to face the Atlanta Braves Charlie Morton. Valdez had a regular-season record of 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA with 125 strikeouts. He won his game in the ALCS against Boston. So far in postseason play in his career, he has played in five games, winning four. On the Atlanta side, Charlie Morton is no stranger to the Astros. He pitched for them during the 2017 and 2018 seasons before taking the job with the Tampa Bay Rays. With The Atlanta Braves this season, he had a 14-6 record with an ERA of 3.34 and 216 strikeouts. In this matchup, Morton is the most experienced in the postseason, winning 7 games and losing 4 in 15 postseason starts.

This pitching matchup and the dynamic hitters for both teams should have made last night’s game very exciting, and it didn’t disappoint. Valdez faced the Braves Jorges Solar, who hit a game starting homer to left, putting the Braves up by one run to start the game. Ozzie Albies singled to left and stole second. Austin Riley doubled to left, with Albies scoring to make it 2-0 Braves. Eddie Rosario, MVP of the NLCS, struck out. Adam Duvall flew out to right, but the Braves took the two-run lead in the game.

At the bottom of the first, with Charlie Morton on the mound, the Astros were scoreless. In the top of the second inning, the Braves scored another run. Soler signaled but with Joc Pederson in a run down going on between second and third, d’Anaud scored. The Astros were again scoreless in the bottom. Soler struck again in the top of the third inning with a two-run homer to left field at MinuteMaid for the 5-0 Braves lead. The bad news for the Braves is that Charlie Morton was out of the game with a hit by pitch comebacker by Gurriel and will miss the rest of the series with a leg fracture.

In the bottom of the fourth, A J Minter on the mound, the Astros threatened with a man on second and only one out. Yuli Gurriel singled, moving Tucker to third. Chas McCormick singled on the first error by the Braves in the postseason, and Tucker scored the first run for the Astros in the game. Jose Altuve ended the inning with a pop-up to the infield. Atlanta Braves 5 Houston Astros 1.

Minter shut down the Astros in the fifth. Jake Odorizzi is in his third inning of work for the Astros in the sixth allowed a single to Dansby Swanson, and that was the night for Odorizzi. He was replaced by Phil Maton, who allowed a single to Freddie Freeman for two on with two outs. Ozzie Albies ground out to end the threat from the Braves. At the bottom, Luke Jackson put down the Astros. Braves 5 Astros 1.

Austin Riley led off the seventh inning; with Maton still on the mound, he struck out. Eddie Rosario doubled down the left-field line. Adam Duvall singled. That was the night for Maton. He was replaced by Ryne Stanek, who faced Travis d’Anaud, who hit into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom, Jackson sill on the mound for the Braves pinch-hitter Jason Castro ground out to first. Jose Altuve struck out. With lefty Micheal Brantley coming in the plate, the Braves went to reliever Tyler Matzek. Brantley singled to left. Alex Bregman struck out to end the Astros threat. Atlanta 5 Houston 1.

Joc Pederson led off the eighth and ground out to first, with Stanek still on the mound. Dansby Swanson singled. Soler singled to the infield, and Swanson went to third on a bungled catch by pitcher Stanek, and that was the night for Stanek. He was replaced by Brooks Raley facing Freddie Freeman, who with men on the corners ground out, Swanson scored as the Braves tacked on another run. At the bottom, Yordan Alvarez hit a triple to the left-field wall. Carlos Correa ground out with Alvarez scoring. Gurriel singled but tried to stretch it to to a double and was called out. Braves 6 Astros 2.

In the ninth inning, Austin Riley flew out to the left-field wall with Brooks Raley on the mound. Eddie Rosario ground out to third. Duvall struck out to end the half. With last licks on the line for the Astros and Will Smith the Braves closer on the mound, pinch hitter Aledmys Diaz walked. Then, Jason Castro hit into a force out. Then, Jose Altuve hit into another force out. Finally, Michael Brantley, with two outs and the game on the line, ground out to second to end the game.

The final score was the Atlanta Braves 6 and the Houston Astros 2. The winning pitcher was A. J. Minter, and the loser was Framber Valdez. The Atlanta Braves up one game in the best of seven series. It was the Braves’ first World Series game win since 1996.

MLB News: Tonight is Game One of the 2021 World Series

The New York Yankees were eliminated in the postseason when they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the winner take all wild card game. But, the postseason moved on without them, first the Divisional Series and then the Championship Series. Now, all of those contests have been decided, and it’s time for the seven-game World Series Classic. Tonight at 8:09 EDT, the Houston Astros will meet up with the Atlanta Braves at MinuteMaid Park in Houston.

First, let’s take a look at how these Championship teams got to tonight’s play. In the East, the New York Yankees duplicated the Boston Red Sox record for a chance to play in the wild card, the Sox having a better season record, got the home-field advantage. The game played at Fenway Park in Boston was won by the Sox 6-2, and the Sox moved on to face the Division leader Tampa Bay Rays. In the five-game series, the Red Sox put down the Rays 3 games to one. The Red Sox advanced to the ALCS against the Astros.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros faced the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS. The Astros handled the Chicago team easily, winning three games to the Sox one game. The Astros then moved on to face the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. The Astros convincingly won the first two games. But, in game three, the Red Sox came roaring back with a 9-5 win. The Astros won game four, and the Sox won game five, forcing a game six elimination game that the Red Sox lost 5-4, ending their season.

The St. Louis Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild card game at Dodgers Stadium on the National League side. The Dodgers won the game 3-1, advancing to the NL ALDS against the west leading San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately for the Giants, they lost to their downstate rivals. The series was tied up three games to three with the Dodgers forced a game six in San Francisco that the Dodgers won 7-2, moving them on to the NLCS.

The other matchup was between the Atlanta Braves NL East leader against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Atlanta won that series in four games, moving them to an NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Atlanta Braves won that NLCS. That series also went six games, the Braves winning three days ago 4-2 and moving them on to the World Series against the ALCS Champion Houston Astros.

Tonight Fall Classic Game One:

The first two games of the 2021 World Series will be played at MinuteMaid Park In Houston. The middle three at Truist Park in Atlanta and moving back to Houston for the final two games if necessary.

Tonight, the Astros will send out lefty Framber Valdez to face the Atlanta Braves Charlie Morton. Valdez had a regular-season record of 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA with 125 strikeouts. He won his game in the ALCS against Boston. So far in postseason play in his career, he has played in five games, winning four. On the Atlanta side, Charlie Morton is no stranger to the Astros. He pitched for them during the 2017 and 2018 seasons before taking the job with the Tampa Bay Rays. With The Atlanta Braves this season, he had a 14-6 record with an ERA of 3.34 and 216 strikeouts. In this matchup, Morton is the most experienced in the postseason, winning 7 games and losing 4 in 15 postseason starts.

This pitching matchup and with the dynamic hitters for both teams should make tonight’s game very exciting. The game will be televised nationally on Fox at 7:09 pm CDT, 8:09 pm EDT. Neither team has announced their starters for game two on Wednesday night at the time of this writing.

New York Yankees: Yankees vs. Braves series preview

The New York Yankees have the day off today to recoup from a disastrous three-game series that saw the Yankees swept by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees couldn’t even win the game started by their ace Gerrit Cole. They lost the first game, started by an opener Nick Nelson 8-2, the second game pitched by Jordan Montgomery 6-3, and against Cole in the finale 4-2. Overall the Rays scored 20 runs in the three-game series to the Yankees’ 7 runs. The Yankees have now won just 1 of the 6 games this season against the Rays.

The New York Yankees get a chance to turn it around against a new team, the Atlanta Braves. It will be a short 2 game series at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees take off for Cleveland to play the Indians in a four-game set. At the very least, the Yankees will be happy to get away from the Jays and the Rays.

The Yankees have not announced as of this writing any of their starting pitchers for the Braves series. It is most likely that Jameson Taillon will start tomorrow’s game on normal rest. Wednesday’s game is less clear; it could be Corey Kluber or even Domingo German. After two miserable starts by German, he was sent down to Scranton to work things out. The Yankees have been mum on his progress or their plans for the pitcher that had an 18-4 recond in 2019.

Tuesday, April 20th, 6:35 pm:

The Atlanta Braves will start right-hander Charlie Morton, who is 1-1 with an ERA of 4.76 with 20 strikeouts on the season. Morton has gone six innings in both of this last two starts but made game losing mistakes in the fourth inning of his last start against the Florida Marlins. But after that game, he claimed his curveball was as good as ever.

The Yankees are very familiar with Morton from his time with the Houston Astros and, more recently, with the Tampa Bay Rays. Morton is a quality pitcher that has given the Yankees a rough time in the past. Morton has a good record against the Yankees, even one hitting them on September 25, 2019. Giancarlo Stanton has had 26 at-bats against Morton, getting 9 hits.

Wednesday, April 21st, 6:35 pm:

On Wednesday, the Yankees will face Ian Anderson, who has no record in three starts and an ERA of 4.70. The New York Yankees have limited experience with Anderson, only seeing him once in his two-year career, and that was not a happy occasion; he broke Gerrit Cole’s winning streak of August 26, 2020. Cole and company allowed 4 Braves runs while Anderson one hit the Yankees, giving up only a home run to the Yankees’ Luke Voit.

Although neither of these pitchers is Max Fried, the Atlanta Braves ace the New York Yankees hitting has got to come alive in the series if they hope to win either of these games. In the Tampa Bay Rays series, they just scored 2.1 runs per game, less than half the number of runs you need to win games consistently.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Rays do more for the Yankees than they have done for themselves

New York Yankees, Charlie Morton

The New York Yankees have done little for themselves this offseason to improve a team with too many early exits from the postseason. Following a sub-par 2020 shortened season, the Yankees even lost the division to the surprising low payroll Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have made nearly no moves to solve any of their many problems and holes in the starting rotation and the bullpen. They haven’t even in two months been able to accomplish their main priority, the re-signing of DJ LeMahieu.

The 2020 baseball season was surely a bizarre one, with the coronavirus shortening its season down to just 60 games. Many teams and players alike have had strange seasons as well, not performing as expected. For the most part, that didn’t stop the Tampa Bay Rays from an exciting if not stunning season that saw them beat out the Yankees for the division title and go deep into the postseason.  Two reasons for that beyond the poor play of the Yankees was Blake Snell and Charlie Morgan.

The New York Yankees fared terribly against Rays pitching. The Rays won eight of the ten games when they faced each other. Four of those losses came against Snell and Morton. Both pitchers won all their games against the Yankees during the regular season, and Morton killed the Yankees in the postseason. The Rays have been the opposite compared to the Yankees so far in the offseason.

The Rays have traded Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres over the weekend, and earlier, they let Charlie Morton sign a deal with the Atlanta Braves. This is wonderful news for the Yankees as they will no longer have to face these Yankee killers in the regular season. The Rays did pick up two catchers and two pitching prospects in the deal. It is very doubtful that those pitching prospects will haunt the Yankees as Snell and Morton did.

The loss of those two Ray pitchers will be significant in the 2021 season, no matter how long the season will be. 2021 will be a season like we haven’t seen in years. The competition will be much greater and closer at the end than one could imagine. With their outstanding breakout pitcher, the Ray’s, Tyler Glasnow, Anderson, Yarbrough, and Fairbanks, will surely be at the top or near the top of the division. The Toronto Blue Jays have been adding pieces to their young, energetic team and will surely be in contention in 2021. Further, the Boston Red Sox, with Alex Cora once again the manager and the continuing build of the Orioles, might surprise.

Meanwhile, back at Yankee Stadium, nothing is happening as the front office seems to be putting everything on hold to see if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu. But for the Yankees, time is running out on two fronts. If the New York Yankees have to worry about the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, it will be even more troublesome if they snatch LeMahieu away from the Yankees. On the other front, viable starting pitching help is being signed away to other teams that seem to be more aggressive at improving their teams.

The Yankees need to stop fooling around and sign DJ LeMahieu to the contract he wants. Without DJ LeMahieu last year, the Yankees would not only have lost the division but wouldn’t have even reached the postseason. The Yankees appear to be “satisfied” with Cole and an experimental and inexperienced rotation behind him. They need LeMahieu even more than last year that saw him a Silver Slugger and batting title winner.

 

Yankees news/rumors: Masahiro Tanaka likely making return with Charlie Morton off the board

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees are still looking for a number two pitcher to slide in behind Gerrit Cole, their ace. Last season, they had a revolving door behind the “white whale” free agent signing and couldn’t establish a cemented rotation to help them during the abbreviated 2020 campaign.

The starting rotation was significantly inconsistent, forcing the bullpen into games early and increasing their chances of fatigue.

The Yankees were reportedly targeting former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton before he signed with the Atlanta Braves. This is unfortunate for the Yankees, who missed out on a one-year, $15 million contract. He had a better season than most of the Yankees’ starting pitchers, including James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka.

Morton finished with a 4.74 ERA, which isn’t viewed as quality, but dominated during the postseason and had a 3.05 ERA, 2.81 FIP, over 194.2 innings pitched in 2019. He is a solid pitcher that fell to the grip of 2020, a season that didn’t offer much in terms of readiness or sympathy due to COVID-19.

However, this leaves the Yankees with a major need, and it is one they could solve with a familiar face.

The New York Yankees could be looking to extend Masahiro Tanaka:

Tanaka spent the last seven seasons with the Yankees, earning a compiled 3.74 ERA, 3.91 FIP, and 18.9 WAR. He’s known for his ground ball rate, which totals at 47.5%, and strikes out 8.46 batters per nine innings. This past season, he finished with a 3.56 ERA, 43.3% ground ball rate, and struck out 8.25 batters per nine (Fangraphs).

Ultimately Tanaka is not worth his price tag any longer, being paid $23 million for the 2020 season. If the Yankees retain him, they can not offer him more than $17 million, considering his inconsistencies.

However, Masahiro has plenty of baseball left in his arm, considering his fastball velocity actually increased from 2018-19. He landed at 92.7 mph on average, which was higher than his 91.7 in 2019. In fact, his pitches across-the-board had more velocity aside from his cutter. However, this could be coughed up due to a lesser sample size, with arm fatigue not really taking its toll during the latter portion of the season.

Overall, it seems as if Tanaka can still pitch at a high-level and offer a great value, but he’s not exactly the number two the Yankees are seeking. They need a second-tier ace that can dominate during the postseason to pair with Cole, and that is simply a missing piece. They are expected to gain back Luis Severino and Domingo German, but who knows how they will look like during major league play.

Yankees and Mets miss out on veteran star pitcher Charlie Morton

New York Yankees, Charlie Morton

The Atlanta Braves are making a splash in the free agent market. First, they signed left-hander Drew Smyly a few days ago to shore up their rotation, but it didn’t end there. Unfortunately for the New York Yankees and Mets, star right-hander Charlie Morton, who last played for the Tampa Bay Rays, is signing with the Braves according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The deal, per information provided by Feinsand, is a one-year contract worth $15 million. Both the Yankees and Mets had varying degrees of interest in the talented right-handed hurler. He is, however, opting to stay in the East coast but with another team.

The New York Yankees need to replace at least a couple of starters. Their rotation suffered a hit once free agency started, as James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ all saw their deals expire after the World Series. They do have Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and Deivi Garcia under contract, but Luis Severino isn’t expected back until June or July 2021. They need to bring (or develop) at least a couple of starting pitchers.

The Mets, meanwhile, have Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson under contract. They are in a similar spot than the Yankees, as they have an injured star recovering from Tommy John surgery (Noah Syndergaard) who isn’t expected back for the first couple of months into the 2021 campaign.

The Yankees and Mets need a pitcher like Morton

Both New York teams could have used the services of Morton, who had a mediocre 4.74 ERA (3.45 FIP) in 38.0 regular season innings with the Rays in 2020, but had an amazing postseason and a very good 2019 (3.05 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 194.2 IP, 11.10 K/9, 2.64 BB/9.)

The 37-year-old righty had previously stated he was considering retirement, but he let teams know that he wanted to keep playing. He had a club option declined by the Rays recently, which allowed him to hit the market.

What will the New York Yankees do to address their rotation needs? Will they pursue Trevor Bauer? Will they go after Corey Kluber? How about a trade? Only time will tell.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Free Agency may not be the answer to Yankees pitching problems

Joe Musgrove, New York Yankees

After not winning another championship and even losing the East, the New York Yankees find themselves in a pitching mess this offseason. Other than new pitching ace Gerrit Cole, the Yankees pitching last season was at best inconstant and at times abysmal. As it happened, those pitchers are gone off the payroll. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ all reached free agency and were not offered a qualifying offer to stay with the team. That loosens up about $50 million to help fix the Yankees pitching problems.

There are a lot of free-agent pitchers for the Yankees to choose from, but the best on that list, Trevor Bauer, Mike Minor, Jake Odorizzi, will probably come at a price the New York Yankees aren’t going to want to spend. Probably Charlie Morton is the most attractive starting pitcher on the list. He is 37 years old with a career 7.0 WAR, which is pretty impressive.

Morton is off a $30 million two year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays declined his 2021 option. The big draw for the Yankees with Morton is that he is a successful postseason pitcher. In the regular season, the Rays won five of his nine starts. But where he shone was in the postseason; he gave up just six earned runs over four games. He beat the Yankees and beat the Houston Astros, his old team, in two games. He did flop in his World Series appearance against the Dodgers; five of his six earned runs given up were in that game.

Morton could be a good fit for the Yankees and would be fairly economical; he would probably demand a one year salary similar to the James Paxton earned, $12 million. The only question is if Morton will retire or play another year. He hasn’t tipped his hat to that, but before the 2020 season, he said it would depend on how he pitched during the season and how he felt healthwise.

The New York Yankees may have to look to the trade market as most of the other free agents aren’t much of an upgrade from Paxton or Happ. Their first free-agent signing just may be their own Masahiro Tanaka; he is the fifth-best pitcher out there. But even the Yankees realize he is not the pitcher he once was, but he is mostly reliable, and the Yankees know he can pitch under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. But for the Yankees to sign him, he will have to accept an annual salary of far less than the $23 million he earned this year.

Two other options the Yankees could look at are on the trade market. Lance Lynn has pitched for the New York Yankees before. He is with the Texas Rangers. Like Tanaka, the Yankees know he isn’t bothered by the New York spotlight. The Rangers have been willing to work with the Yankees in the past.

Another possibility is Joe Musgrove of the Pirates. The Pirates had a horrible season and looking to gut the team again and might be willing to give up Musgrove. Musgrove has often been compared to Masahiro Tanaka but is four years younger; he will be 28 on opening day. After a stint on the IL, he returned, striking out a full third of batters he faced and allowing the weakest contact of any starter in baseball.

The bottom line is that these pitchers are mid-rotation pitchers. The Yankees still need a number two starter behind Gerrit Cole. The obvious choice would be spending for Trevor Bauer. If the Yankees don’t do that, you may see Domingo German as that number two starter if Hal Steinbrenner decides to take him back. Midseason or before the Yankees hope to get Luis Severino back, after rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery.

If the Yankees decide to go big, it will produce a rotation that would produce a dream rotation of Cole, Bauer, German, Severino, and a fifth spot that could include Montgomery, Garcia, or Schmidt. The one thing we know for sure is that it will be a while before the 2021 Yankee pitching rotation becomes clear.

New York Yankees FA target, Kevin Gausman, accepts Giants’ qualifying offer

Kevin Gausman, New York Yankees

One of the New York Yankees targets in the free agent pitching market is off the board. First reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Kevin Gausman has decided to accept the qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants.

Gausman’s decision comes on the heels of Marcus Stroman also accepting his qualifying offer from the New York Mets. With those two decisions, two potential targets for the Yankees are off the board.

There was no word on the potential interest in terms of the Yankees and Marcus Stroman. However, there were some rumors that the Yankees were intrigued and interested in Gausman who had a fantastic year for the Giants.

Gausman was a pitcher that the Yankees were also interested in back at the August trade deadline. However, a deal never materialized and Gausman stayed with the Giants. It was reported that Gausman had multiple year deals on the table.

However, in the end, the Giants starting pitcher decided it would be best to stick with San Francisco for another year. Perhaps hoping there will be more money in the FA market after a somewhat normal 2021 MLB season.

Yankees Options From Here

Gausman was definitely someone that the Yankees were interested in for the back end of the rotation. Of course, the Yankees are also talking and thinking about bringing back Masahiro Tanaka on a short-term deal.

Tanaka has only been with the Yankees since he made the jump to the majors seven years ago. In addition to the interest in Tanaka, the bombers are said to be interested in potentially bringing in Charlie Morton on a one or two year deal.

Despite Stroman and Gausman being taken off the board, there are still options for the Yankees. The top prize is Trevor Bauer, however, early reports seem to indidicate that the Yankees won’t spend the money required to get a guy like Bauer.

Expect the Yankees to look at a couple of pitchers to fill out their rotation. It was reported today that bringing back Tanaka wouldn’t take the bombers out of the running for a guy like Charlie Morton. It’ll all come down to the dollars at the end of the day.

Can the New York Yankees right their 2018 wrong?

New York Yankees, Charlie Morton

After the 2018 season ended, the New York Yankees knew that they needed to do something to address their starting rotation. They kicked off the offseason by trading for Seattle’s ace, James Paxton.

While that was a good start, the Yankees knew that they needed to do more to address their rotation. Back in the previous trade deadline, the Yankees had made a deal to acquire Blue Jays starting pitcher, J.A. Happ.

Happ was sensational when he came over to the Yankees. After getting traded to New York, Happ went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA. However, Happ stumbled in the playoffs which was one of the reasons the Yankees were bounced in the first round.

Happ was a free agent after the 2018 season ended. The Yankees had Paxton, but they were examining the free agent market looking to secure one more starting pitcher. There were two pitchers they kicked the tires on.

They seemed to be interested in resigning Happ or potentially bringing in Charlie Morton. Morton had been a standout for the Houston Astros after seeing a career resurgance. In fact, Morton pitched the deciding game 7 against the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS.

Despite Morton’s dominance over them and his incredible 2018 season, the Yankees decided to move in a different direction. They decided to resign the familiar face in J.A. Happ. A decision that would come back to truly bite the bombers.

Yankees Giant Mistake

Charlie Morton signed with Tampa Bay while the Yankees resigned Happ. Both pitchers were signed to two year deals. However, it was clear from the very beginning that signing Happ was a mistake by Brian Cashman.

Happ was not just bad, but god awful in 2019. Happ was 12-8 with an ERA approaching five. He was so bad that he was kicked out of the starting rotation and barely appeared in the Yankees 2019 playoff run.

Meanwhile, Charlie Morton was sensational for the Rays. Morton was 16-6 with an ERA of 3.05 and he finished third in the Cy Young voting. Not only that, but Morton appeared in two starts in the postseason where he went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA for the Rays.

Now, Happ had a better 2020 than Morton did. Morton battled injuries, however, when the postseason came around, it was a different story. He was dominant again in the playoffs going 3-1 with a 3.15 ERA.

Morton could have made a difference

Meanwhile Happ was lit up by the Tampa Bay Rays in his lone start in the ALDS. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that if the Yankees signed Morton over Happ in 2018, they would’ve defeated the Astros to make it to the WS in 2019.

They also would’ve defeated the Rays this year in the playoffs. That decision was horrific by the front office, but they have the chance at Morton again. Morton is proven in the postseason, and despite his age, I think he’s a guy they should seriously target this offseason.

There are already reports around the Yankees interest. They need a starter outside of Gerrit Cole to come up big when it matters. There aren’t many big game pitchers like Charlie Morton available. I think they should do what they can to bring him in on a reasonable deal.

Yankees’ potential target Charlie Morton drawing interest from “at least” 8-10 teams

New York Yankees, Charlie Morton

If you watched the MLB playoffs in 2020, it was evident that the New York Yankees need extra starting pitching depth. They lost Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery and Domingo German to suspension before the campaign started, and James Paxton shortly after. Masahiro Tanaka lost a couple starts after he was hit in the head by a comebacker.

Now, Paxton, Tanaka and J.A. Happ are free agents, and Severino won’t start the 2021 season healthy as he’s still rehabbing from the surgery. The New York Yankees have Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, German, and Deivi Garcia as MLB-ready starters, but not much more behind that group.

That’s why the Yankees have been connected to virtually every major starting pitcher available in free agency. One of them is obviously Trevor Bauer, but he may be too expensive for the Bombers’ payroll plans.

Another top-tier option, and one that shouldn’t be as expensive as Bauer, is Charlie Morton. The former Houston Astro and Tampa Bay Ray had a supbar regular season in 2020, with a 4.74 ERA in nine starts and 38.0 innings.

However, he had a much more decent 3.45 FIP and was as dominant as ever (9.95 K/9, 2.37 BB/9.)
In the playoffs, though, he was vintage Morton: in 20.0 total frames, he had a 2.70 ERA and a 2.59 FIP, with 10.35 K/9 and a 2.25 BB/9.

The Yankees could use a pitcher like Morton, but there will be competition

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Morton is drawing “some level of interest” from “at least” 8-10 teams. So, it would appear that the Yankees will have some strong competition if they want to secure his services.

Morton had previously said that he was considering retirement, but he recently said to his agent that he intends to play at least one more season.

Morton presumably wants to return to Tampa. According to Feinsand, the Rays “appears to be Morton’s first choice,” but he also wrote that the World Series runners-up are “unlikely to offer more than $10 million” to the soon-to-be 37-year-old.