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Astros sign Charlie Morton

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pirates starter Charlie Morton has received a two-year, $14 million deal from the Astros, Ken Rosenthal tweets. He can also receive some bonuses for numbers of starts.

Good for Morton. $14 million seems like a big guarantee for a guy who hasn't pitched since April (due to a hamstring injury) and has struggled somewhat since 2014. His new deal looks like a win after the Phillies declined his option earlier this month to avoid paying him what was effectively $8.5 million ($9.5 million minus a $1 million buyout).

There might, however, be some encouraging signs for Morton -- he averaged 94.3 MPH on his fastball in the four starts he made with the Phillies this season, higher than in any previous season in his career. He's also maintained his characteristically high ground ball rate over the past couple seasons, and stats like SIERA and FIP mark him as being significantly better than his ERA over that period.

Actually, Morton right now looks a little like the sort of pitcher the Pirates typically pursue via free agency. It wouldn't have been a shock had the Bucs snapped him up this winter, given their budget, needs, and predilection for ground-ball guys. The fact that they dumped him on the Phillies last winter for a non-prospect, though, might have been a hint they still wouldn't have interest this year at an only slightly lower price.