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Rays pitcher Charlie Morton leaving: inks $15 million 1-year deal with the Braves

He spent two seasons with Tampa Bay.
Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) throws against the New York Yankees during the first inning in Game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton is joining the Atlanta Braves.

The team announced on Twitter Tuesday that it had signed the 37-year-old MLB pitcher to a one-year contract worth $15 million. Had Morton stayed with the Tampa Bay Rays, he would have also been due to earn $15 million.

Morton played a key role in the Rays reaching the World Series, where Tampa Bay lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

Morton joined the Rays in 2019 on a $30 million, two-year contract and helped Tampa Bay earn playoff berths each of the past two seasons. The right-hander was 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA this postseason, with the loss coming in Game 3 of the World Series. He was 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA during the season and earned a $5,555,556 prorated salary from an originally scheduled $15 million.

Morton lives in Bradenton, Florida. He had previously talked about possibly retiring if the Rays had declined his $15 million option for next season.

“They care about each other every single day,” he said of the organization to the Associated Press. “And if a team like that wants me back next year, I would be completely honored and privileged to continue to play. And needless to say, we live 40-something miles away from the Trop. Being out here in this bubble, yeah, I’ve grown to appreciate my situation even more with the Rays.” 

The 6-foot-5 pitcher is a native of New Jersey and went to high school in Connecticut. He was first drafted by Atlanta in the third round of the 2002 first-year player draft and made his major league debut with the Braves in 2008.

Morton was later traded to Pittsburgh and spent seven seasons with the Pirates. He went on to pitch for the Phillies and Astros before ending up with the Rays.

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