Charlie Morton, whose contract was declined by the Rays at the end of the 2020 season, had a decision to make: his first team or his last team. The two were both frontrunners for the pitchers services in 2021.
Morton, who lives in Florida, had expressed his desire to continue to play in close proximity to his family. He will make the same money his Rays contract, which saw the Rays looking for a discount. It’s hardly the same Morton who played for the Braves in 2008. Morton bloomed late, switching from a groudball pitcher to a strikeout specialist as an Astro in 2017. That was the year he closed out the World Series. Morton didn’t get his first All-Star nod until 2018, but was also an All-Star in 2019. In the last four seasons, he’s posted a 3.34 ERA in 546 innings of work, with 646 Ks with the Astros and Rays. Over his first nine seasons with the Braves, Pirates and Phillies he posted 4.54 ERA with 630 Ks in 893 innings of work.
The Braves are also far different than his last tenure with the club. That was before reigning MVP Freddie Freeman debuted, who’s been a Brave for eleven years in the Show. The Braves are loaded: Ozzie Albies (the best second baseman in baseball), young phenom Ronald Acuna, tremendous shortstop in Dansby Swanson. They were a win away from the World Series, despite being so in need of starting pitching that Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright got NLCS starts. Since, they’ve inked Drew Smyly and now Charlie Morton to anchor the back of the rotation. The rotation seems to be Max Fried, Mike Soroka, Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson and Drew Smyly. The Braves have made the postseason each of the last three seasons and their season came down to a deciding Game 7 against the Dodgers (who would later defeat Morton’s Rays in six World Series games). Morton has the most winner-take-all postseason wins in MLB history.
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