Sept. 2: The Rays have reinstated Morton from the injured list and optioned first baseman/outfielder Brian O’Grady to their alternate training site, per a team announcement.
Aug. 31: The Rays are planning to activate Charlie Morton from the injured list to start Wednesday’s game against the Yankees, manager Kevin Cash announced to reporters (including Juan Toribio of MLB.com). The right-hander has been out since August 10 with inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Morton’s two-year, $30MM contract comes with a 2021 club option that could pay him up to $15MM. Initially, the option price was set to decrease if Morton spent more than thirty days on the injured list between 2019-20. The veteran avoided the IL last season. In 2020, vesting options have been prorated due to the shortened season.
However, Morton’s deal has been reworked to remain at the $15MM price point so long as he spends no more than 23 days on the injured list, MLBTR has learned. Wednesday’s activation, not coincidentally, comes 23 days since Morton’s initial injured list placement. Thus, the option continues to be valued at $15MM, so long as he avoids future IL stints. Of course, the option price is only relevant if the 36-year-old wants to play next season, and he’s been noncommital on that question in the past.
Morton was fantastic in his first year in Tampa, pitching to a 3.05 ERA/2.81 FIP in 194.2 innings, garnering some Cy Young support in the process. His first four starts this season haven’t been as impressive, but he’s a big key to the 24-11 Rays’ hopes of postseason success.