Tampa Bay Rays: Charlie Morton drawing the interest of 8-10 teams

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 27: Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays walks to the dugout before the game. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 27: Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays walks to the dugout before the game. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

According to reports, former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton is a hot commodity in free agency.

It comes with no surprise that teams are interested in signing Charlie Morton for the 2021 season. According to reports, at least eight to ten teams are interested in adding the former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to their respective rotations. Morton will turn 37-years-old on November 12th, but many teams believe he can still contribute to competing teams.

The right-handed starting pitcher just finished his second season with the Rays after losing to the Dodgers in the World Series. The free-agent has a recent track record of helping teams get to the postseason after joining the Houston Astros in 2017.

Morton was a late bloomer who had to reinvent himself after struggling early on with the braves, Pirates, and Phillies. He would become one of the top-tier pitchers after joining the Astros and would help the team win the controversial 2017 World Series.

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The 6’5″ pitcher struggled during the shortened regular season, but turned things around once the postseason started, becoming the best Rays pitcher during the playoffs. Morton posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and struck out 23 batters in 20 innings.

With his most recent performances, teams are confident he can repeat another steady postseason performance in 2021. During 2020, according to Fan Graphs, his average fastball velocity went down to 93.3 mph. In 2019, he was averaging a 94.4mph fastball. And a 95.7mph fastball in 2018. Although we notice a downward trend, 93mph is still effective for Morton who has a good moving two-seamer and a nasty curveball.

As I said previously, Morton is aging and may prefer certain locations more than others because he seems close to retirement. Morton was raised in Connecticut and lives in Florida so a team on the East coast, and/or a team that has spring training in Florida may be of interest.

MLB Trade Rumors predicts Morton will land a one-year deal with the New York Mets, which makes a lot of sense geographically and because the Mets are usually willing to spend on free-agents. Despite Morton’s age, his stuff is still good, and will be asking for a decent sized contract.

Spotrac projects Morton’s annual market value to be $14.6million. I am not sure if Morton will land a deal that big, but it is not too far off. The Blue Jays recently made the biggest deal of the week when they brought back Robbie Ray on a one-year deal for $8million.

That is a good benchmark set for starting pitchers’ values and Morton should be able to receive more than Ray. The Tampa Bay Rays also expressed their interest in bringing back Morton to be the third complement to Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow.

I could also see the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies be teams of interest. They are located in the Eastern part of the US.

One sleeper team for me to win the Morton deal is the Washington Nationals. They had a disappointing 2020 where they attempted to defend their 2019 title. The Nationals have an outstanding starting trio in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin, but nothing after them.

The Nationals will be looking to bounce back in a big way led by the excellent starting rotation, Juan Soto and Trea Turner. Washington already made an early move by signing Josh Harrison to a small one-year deal. Morton could help solidify a postseason appearance for the Nationals in 2021.

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Expect Morton’s free-agency news to heat up in the coming weeks because Robbie Ray is already off the market and Morton is a solid veteran pitcher with postseason experience.