Charlie Morton “wasn’t surprised” that the Rays declined to exercise their $15MM club option on his services, but the veteran right-hander told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the team’s decision “doesn’t mean we won’t try to work something out. If there’s mutual interest, the next step is gauging what that looks like.” Rays GM Erik Neander indicated yesterday that the team indeed hoped to bring Morton back for a third season. If an acceptable deal can’t be worked out with the Rays or another club, Morton reiterated to Topkin that he’ll gauge whether he wants to keep playing, weighing such “typical factors” as his health, playing for a contender, and “does it make sense financially and geographically?”
The Rays declined options on both Morton and (at $4.5MM) catcher Mike Zunino yesterday. Jet Sports Management represents both players, and agent B.B. Abbott told Topkin in a separate piece that there aren’t any hard feelings about the contractual decisions. “Their first choice was to be in Tampa, and it probably still is their first choice,” Abbott said, but now that Morton and Zunino are on the open market, “they owe it to themselves to see what’s out there.”
More from the AL East…
- Taijuan Walker figures to get a lot of attention in free agency this winter, but there is mutual interest between Walker and the Blue Jays in a return to Toronto’s rotation, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes. Acquired in a trade from the Mariners in late August, Walker posted excellent numbers (1.37 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.27 K/BB rate) in his six starts in a Jays uniform. Beyond the on-field results, Walker was also impressed by both the Jays’ long-term potential as contenders, and how the club treats its players. “They have really good staff, coaches, training staff. For me, it’s all about comfort and people,” Walker said. “Being connected and having that family, and that’s what it felt like.” Once one of baseball’s most highly-touted pitching prospects, injuries cost Walker virtually all of the 2018 and 2019 seasons but he has somewhat revived his stock after his solid 2020 performance.
- While the Red Sox have interviewed several candidates to be their next manager, “the managerial search appears to be centered on determining if Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora can work well together,” the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham writes. Of course, Cora was already Boston’s manager when Bloom was hired as the club’s chief baseball officer last October, though Cora’s firing and subsequent one-year suspension are undoubtedly considerations for Red Sox ownership and the front office in deciding whether or not to bring Cora back. While Cora’s return has been widely speculated, Abraham isn’t sure a rehire “is automatic,” opining that Cora could potentially wait to see if another high-profile job (perhaps with the Mets) becomes available.
- Now that Yolmer Sanchez has been claimed on waivers, the Orioles have some extra depth as they consider other infield moves, as MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski writes. No decision has yet been made about Jose Iglesias’ $3.5MM club option, and with Sanchez now on hand as a second base candidate, the O’s could potentially non-tender Hanser Alberto, who is projected to earn between $2.3MM and $4.1MM in arbitration (depending on how arb salaries are calculated this winter). Sanchez is himself eligible for arbitration, however, and his projected $6.2MM arb figure last winter was the chief reason why the White Sox non-tendered him last November.
Miami could be the heavy favorite for Morton
Why would he want to go to Miami? He has a better chance at a ring in Tampa. He has had success there also.
Tampa won’t win unless they spend money. Money ball doesn’t win championships
Well you also can’t buy one!
Ahh right just like the yankees, red sox, angels, oh wait, when did they win las??
Miami spends money? Morton would immediately be the most expensive player on the roster.
Miami is bipolar. They go on a huge spending spree for a couple years, then they blow it up and beg in the streets for a few years, then repeat the cycle.
No, you can’t just “buy” a championship. I’m surprised that anyone is arguing the opposite.
Hey hey hey tell that to the Astros they bought a trash can
they paid up for Marte and Dickerson as well as dealt for a high arb salary on Villar. not globs of money, But Morton isnt going to get much more in AAV then those guys will.
Ace of Diamonds
Dodgers bought theirs, Boston bought a one a couple of years ago
Some teams will never be Royals.
They crave a different kind of buzz.
Even the Royals, for their standards, ‘bought’ a title. 16th in opening day payroll 2015.
Cubs were 14th in 2016,
Giants 10th, 8th, then 7th in 2010, 2012, 2014.
Astros were 18th in payroll 2018, all trashiness aside.
How they ran their team from 2012-2016 was the real trash move? Meh, it paid off.
5 of the last 20 WS Champs were top 3 in opening day payroll.
3 were in the bottom half.
Spend huge and you can win while paying albatrosses.
Astroball seemed to have perfected the original Marlinball strategy. A few years of running a skeleton crew before investing back in the team and making a huge push.
About half of MLB teams are working on some variance of this strategy currently.
RSox won it all in 2018.
Dodgers just did
Disingenuous…Cubs and Tampa and Houston all had blown up teams and still had good deals on the new young players.
Yankees have more players with real and imagined injuries
And no pitching.
Too many ex Cubs
I want Cora back in Boston, but if they are not gonna rehire him, TELL him so then I hope there will be good jobs left for him somewhere
Fever Pitch Guy
Ewww … why would you want Cora back in Boston? Are you a Yankee fan? I do agree with you that once the Sox decide whether they want him, they should let him know. When he calls to find out, they should bang a trashcan to tell him … one bang for “Yes we want you back” and two bangs for “No thanks, have a great life”.
Fever Pitch – Lol funny……two bangs
2 bangs for Cora!
Cora should be the manager in Boston. He served his suspension, he’s the best fit. Bring him back.
The Orioles could do worse than a middle infield of Iglesias, Alberto, and Sanchez. At least defensively.
I don’t get claiming Sanchez and non tendering Alberto. Wouldn’t the Os rather have Alberto as a player and he’s cheaper? Maybe I’m undervaluing Sanchez
Not only do I have no interest in Cora, I will lose respect for the organization as a whole, and will likely not root for them for the foreseeable future… this disappoints me immeasurably.
Walker at a low cost, sure. Hard to assess him at a 60-game schedule but he could also be working his way back to becoming the pitcher he was supposed to be prior to injuries.
Great way to discourage future cheating. Let the cheater get his job back a year later.
Walker screams regression. His 4.56 FIP, 4.82 xFIP, .243 BABIP AGNST, 3.2 BB/9 and about league average K rate won’t sustain his current run prevention. Doesnt mean he can’t be a productive big leaguer though. His injury tendencies will do THAT!
I can still see him getting a contract though. I just think the commitment will reflect the risk. I would try and hazard a guess but I admit to falling short here. Who knows what is going to transpire this offseason.
Absolutely nobody believes that Walker would put up the same 2.70 ERA over a full season. The bullpen saved him in a couple games where he couldn’t throw a strike, and he gave up a lot of unearned runs.
But, if I were convinced he was going to be healthy and in a normal market I’d give him 3 years $50 M for sure based on past performance and stuff. The problem is accessing injury risk, which cuts into his value.
If that is the cost for Walker then no thank you. Stoman gets $60+ over 3 years if Walker gets that. Huge overpay. Walker is a 3yr for $36-mil at most. We aren’t sure if he can withstand 100 innings.
I can see the Rays sign him for 2 years/20 million
The BoSox should pounce on Iglesias, plug him into SS, move Bogaert to 3rd, and Devers to 1st. Or just put Jose at 2nd. Any way they did it would be better than all their other options.
If healthy Taijuan Walker is #3 and any team would want him in the rotation. It all depends on health.
Let’s say he remains healthy for 2 years before he gets sidelined again, what would he be worth?