Astros: Could Charlie Morton be retiring after the season?
By Eric Huysman
With all the starters in the Houston Astros rotation, many fans have fallen for the World Series hero.
Whenever Charlie Morton pitches, we see the #CFM hashtag everywhere on Astros Twitter. Unless you have lived under a rock, you know that stands for Charlie freaking Morton. As the World Series video stated, Morton was a journeyman starter who reached his peak at the right time. The problem is that he is still improving.
Morton is currently 34 years old and is in the last year of the two-year $14 million contract. This move has made Jeff Luhnow and company look like geniuses. Last year, Morton had a 14-7 record with a 3.62 ERA while striking out 163 hitters in 146 2/3 innings. But he got even better in the playoffs, outside of Game 3 of the ALCS.
He wasn’t done yet as he has started off on fire in 2017. Morton is 7-1 on the season with a 2.84 ERA while striking out 92 hitters in 73 innings pitched. He started the season off as the fifth starter, but he has been anything other than that. One of the things that have held Morton back in his career has been injuries. Should he stay healthy, he is due for a big payday after the season.
After the season, he will be 35 and is showing that he is still in the top of his game. MLB Trade Rumors has him listed as the tenth top free agents due a big payday. They suggested that he could get upwards of $60 million for three years. However, the article did hint at something that Astros fans are already thinking.
Why would he leave Houston?
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Morton is pitching at a level he has not in his career, and it has come with some changes to his mechanics by the Astros. Would he have the same success outside of Houston? However, there may be another factor involved here. Does he want to continue playing? Jon Heyman of Fanrag sports reminded us that Morton told JP Morosi that he might retire after this season. We all kind of shrugged it off.
This was before the Astros won the World Series. Now that he is having the success that he is having, he could reconsider. It would be hard for him to walk away at the top of his game, but we saw that with David Ortiz after the 2016 season. Between Dallas Keuchel and Morton, I would rather them re-sign CFM. My guess is he would want to stay on for at least one more year.
Next: Gerrit Cole could be setting Astros franchise records
We all remember how Roger Clemens was 99.99% was retiring. Morton will take the mound tonight versus the Rangers.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***