The Tampa Bay Rays have made the first big splash of the Winter Meetings, landing 2017 World Series hero Charlie Morton on a two year, $30 million deal, with a third-year option.
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
Morton is best known for elevating his fastball velocity late in his career, and for pitching the Astros to victory in Game 7’s of the ALCS and World Series in 2017, with the latter performance including the final out.
Charlie Morton can be viewed as an in-kind replacement for Nathan Eovaldi, who was a steadying, veteran presence in the Rays clubhouse for the last two seasons. Like Eovaldi, Morton has a reputation for being a thoughtful pitcher who goes about his business well, and is a pitcher who throws high heat despite past injuries.
To guard against injury concerns, the Rays have included a third year option on the contract that appears to be a moving target based on games played:
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.
Additionally, just for fun, we should also note that when it comes to stuff, the Rays seem to have a new type:
94 starting pitchers threw 200+ curveballs in 2018, their rankings in whiff rate:— Rob Silver (@RobSilver) December 12, 2018
1st - Blake Snell
3rd - Tyler Glasnow
5th - Charlie Morton
More to come...