There's a good chance you didn't like the Phillies' 2015 starting rotation.
It appears Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak didn't either.
Early Saturday morning, the Phillies announced a trade with the Pirates, acquiring 32-year-old right-hander Charlie Morton in exchange for minor leaguer David Whitehead. It's possible you remember Morton best from his delivery, in which he tried to emulate one Harry Leroy Halladay.
Morton started 23 games last year for the Pirates, going 9-9 with a 4.81 ERA. He threw 129 innings, allowing 137 hits, sporting a 6.7 K/9 rate and 2.9 BB/9 rate. The Pirates have been attempting to upgrade their rotation this off-season, acquiring Jon Niese from the Mets earlier this week, and have been linked to various free-agent pitchers. Moving Morton could allow them to do that.
The Phillies, therefore, were apparently willing to swoop in and pounce on Morton to bolster a rotation that will look a lot different in 2016. With the additions of Morton and Jeremy Hellickson, the Phillies are making sure at this point that Sean O'Sullivan, Severino Gonzalez, and David Buchanan doesn't happen again.
At the very least, Klentak and MacPhail are trying to protect some of these younger bullpen arms from high-stress outings. Justin DeFratus, as we all know, had far too many of those early last season. The Phillies do not want to do that to anyone again.
This move could also spell the end for Adam Morgan's rotation chances. If Vincent Velasquez is healthy and ready to go, it will be very hard for Morgan to make the roster as a starter. Of course, if the Phillies want Velasquez at AAA, Morgan is back in the thick of things. As of now, the Phillies could go with Aaron Nola, Hellickson, Velasquez, Morton and Jerad Eickhoff to begin the season, assuming the health of all. Brett Oberholtzer, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson could all be options, too.
Morton is due to make $8 million in 2016, so he immediately catapults himself into being one of the highest paid players on the roster. He has a $9.5 million option for 2017, with a $1 million buyout, per Cot's.
It's unclear as of now whether or not the Phillies would be getting any money out of this, but it's likely a straight salary dump by Pittsburgh.
One thing is for sure with the moves made so far this offseason: The Phillies could have some viable trade chips come the deadline next year.