While only 23 games remain on the schedule for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 2014 season is far from over, as Pittsburgh is currently in the hunt for October again.
Still, it may not be too early to start thinking about what this team could look like next season.
With starting pitchers Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez potentially hitting the free-agent market after this season, the Pirates will have to start thinking about the future.
One guy who shouldn't be in Pittsburgh's future plans is starting pitcher Charlie Morton, who has been absolutely horrible lately.
Morton has been in the league for seven years now, but he has yet to start 30 games in a single season.
It looked as if Morton had begun to turn his career in the right direction, as he pitched to a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts with the Pirates in 2013.
This season, however, Morton has walked 55 batters, hit 19 batters and allowed 139 hits in just 152.1 innings pitched en route to a 5-12 overall record.
The 30-year-old veteran is under contract until 2016, when he will become a free agent. By that time, however, who knows how wild he will be on the mound.
This offseason may be the perfect time for general manager Neal Huntington to include Morton in a deal for either a quality starting pitcher or another solid batter. If he waits any longer, Morton's value could go down greatly.
As mentioned earlier, the Pirates may have to fill two holes left in the rotation if Volquez and Liriano both leave. At this point in his career, however, Morton certainly is not the answer to either of these solutions.
As of right now, Gerrit Cole is pretty much the only definite starter in the rotation in 2015, barring any sort of catastrophic injury. Both Morton and starting pitcher Jeff Locke have been inconsistent over their careers, which is why we cannot consider either pitcher as a lock for a rotation spot next year.
Morton is getting older and worse each start, as his numbers indicate. He has given up at least four earned runs in five of his last seven starts, which has been one of the reasons the Pirates are still 2.0 games out of the second wild-card spot.
Right now, there are not many viable options to replace Morton in the last month of play, but come this winter, he may end up in trade talks around the league.
If the Pirates do not trade him, they better sign a few quality starting pitchers who will pitch behind Cole in that rotation.
Otherwise, the Pirates may have a very susceptible starting rotation in 2015.
*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com