In Morton, Rays Sign Perfect Traditional Starter
While terms of the deal haven’t been released, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that it’s a 2-year pact worth $30MM. He adds that the deal may contain a third year for $1MM in the event that Morton is injured in one of the first two years of the contract.
“The deal also includes a third-year option that could be as low as $1 million if Morton misses significant time over the first two years because of injury and could be worth as much as $15 million if he remains healthy.” – Jeff Passan
The 35-year old Morton spent the past two seasons with the Houston Astros. Last season he made 30 starts logging 167 innings pitching to a 15-3 mark with a 3.13 ERA and appeared in his first All-Star Game. Over the past two seasons in Houston he’s made 55 starts, logged 313.2 innings and pitched to a 29-10 mark with a 3.36 ERA.
Over the past two seasons, the Rays have turned over their roster and shed salary. Many fans and pundits alike wondered if the team would ever re-invest the money back into the roster. Today’s signing of Morton should provide a little more trust that the front office is willing to put money into the roster when the right opportunity presents itself.
Morton is more than the right opportunity, he is the perfect opportunity. He provides leadership foir the starting staff whose oldest member come opening day will be 27-year old Ryan Yarbrough who isn’t a traditional starter.
His arsenal also fits the Rays preference in hard throwers. Blake Snell averaged 95.8 miles per hour on his fastball, Tyler Glasnow (96.6 mph), and Morton (95.7 mph).
The trio also get a large percentage of their outs via the strikeout with Blake Snell leading the way at 31.6-percent, Glasnow at 29.1-percent, and Morton at 28.9-percent.
As the off-season continues the Rays front-office will continue to look for ways to upgrade the 90-win performance from last season. Signing Charlie Morton is a huge step toward that end. They will still be on the hunt for a right handed bat and bullpen help.