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Astros sign Charlie Morton, free agent pitcher

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Houston jumped into the shallow free agent starter market by locking up the right-hander who previously played with the Pirates, Braves and Phillies.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Huh.

Well I guess that's one way to get some depth.

On Wednesday, the Astros announced they had signed free agent starter Charlie Morton to a two-year deal.

Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is for $14 million over two years.

Morton, 33, only threw 17 innings for the Phillies last year after tearing his hamstring. The right-hander has pitched for nine years in the majors and started 162 games. He owns a career ERA of 4.50, though his career FIP is half a run lower.

Morton does fit into this team for one reason: he is a heavy ground ball pitcher. Morton got ground balls on 55 percent of his batted balls in his career. That number has spiked over 60 percent twice in the past four seasons. He also does it with a low-90's fastball. Both his two-seamer and his four-seamer sit right around 91-92 mph.

If we're being honest, this move resembles the Doug Fister move more than one for a top-rotation guy. Morton is depth, but he has some nice upside and may fit into Brent Strom's system.

The other notable thing about this signing is its timing. Usually, moves for middle tier starters happen closer to January than November. But, because there's creeping uncertainty about the new collective bargaining agreement, there have been rumors that teams want to make their personnel moves before the old CBA expires in December.

With this move, we have at least a glimpse that the rumors may be correct.

What do you think? Anyone excited about old Charlie? Is he the sinkerballer of your dreams?