(USA Today Photo)

The Pirates traded Charlie Morton and his $8 million salary in 2016 to the Phillies for minor league righty David Whitehead.

Charlie Morton will be opening the season on the other side of Pennsylvania as the Pittsburgh Pirates dealt the right-handed pitcher to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced the trade of pitcher Charlie Morton Saturday morning.

The Pirates acquired right-handed pitcher David Whitehead from the Philadelphia Phillies in the trade. The announcement was made by Pirates Executive Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.

“A big part of the motivation was to free some dollars to allow us to deepen the club, to re-establish our depth,” Huntington said. “Assuming we’re able to do that via trade or free agency, the acquisition of Jon Niese deepen our rotation, to get a little bit more creative and reallocate some dollars.”

The Pirates will be looking to make more moves.

“That’s the plan,” Huntington said. “We’ll see how the trades work out and how free agency works out. We do feel that by moving Charlie’s dollars – again, Jon Niese’s and Neil Walker’s dollars essentially wash. But we get the extra years of potential contributions with Jon on the two options. In Charlie’s case, we like the player we got in return, but the flexibility that we have to add depth to the club is something that we felt was important. We wouldn’t have done this blindly. At the same time, you can’t line everything up perfectly.”

Whitehead spent the entire 2015 season with Single-A Clearwater of the Florida State League. The 23-year-old Whitehead made his professional debut with the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League in 2014 after being selected by the Phillies in the 34th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.Whitehead will open the season at Double A Altoona.


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