Another starting pitching option is off the free agent market. After debating retirement in early November, veteran right-hander Charlie Morton has decided to continue playing next season. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Morton has agreed to a two year deal worth $30 million with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Free agent starter Charlie Morton and the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal, sources told Yahoo Sports.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2018
Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported earlier this morning that Morton was weighing multiple two year deals that could be worth as much as the $30 million. The Rangers and of course Morton’s former team, the Astros, both also showed interest in the veteran righty.
Right-Hander Charlie Morton Signs With the Rays
A Look at Morton’s Career
Morton had a bit of a rough start to his career. He spent his rookie year with the Braves, where he made just 15 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. The righty then spent the next seven season in a Pirates uniform. He had some up-and-down seasons, but and went 41-62 with a 4.39 ERA and 563 strikeouts in 801 innings.
Morton spent the 2016 season with the Phillies, and due it injuries made just four starts. And then he signed with the Houston Astros prior to the 2017 season. The past two seasons in Houston, Morton has experienced a bit of a revitalization.
Thanks to some advanced analytics, he has transformed himself into a completely different pitcher. These days, Morton has been leaning on his sinker less, and throwing his fastball and curve more.
His curveball is now one off the nastiest in the game, as he trails only New York Mets reliever Seth Lugo in spin rate. In 2018, opponents hit just .142 against the pitch.
Over the past two seasons with the Astros, he has gone a combined 29-10 with a 3.37 ERA, 364 strikeouts, a 10.4 K/9, and a 3.19 K/BB rate.
What Morton Brings to the Table
As you can see, thanks to the Astros help Morton is a completely new pitcher. Morton went 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 2018, so he showed he could still produce despite being 34-years old. He certainly will bring a nice veteran presence to the Rays starting rotation that figures to headline Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow.