3 Rays players Phillies still wish they had on their roster

Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Three Rays players the Phillies likely still wish they had on their roster

The Tampa Bay Rays are headed to the World Series for the first time since their 2008 appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Three notable players on the 2020 Rays postseason roster — who all significantly contributed in their American League pennant victory over the Houston Astros — once donned a uniform in the Phillies organization. You have to assume the Phillies wish they never parted ways with them.

1. RHP Charlie Morton

After pitching eight seasons in the majors, Charlie Morton joined the 2016 Phillies rotation; in four starts, he went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA, 19-to-8 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and 1.327 WHIP. However, in his fourth start, Morton suffered a season-ending hamstring injury suffered while running to first base.

Morton has not pitched for a National League team since the injury, as in 97 combined regular season starts with the Houston Astros (2017-18) and Tampa Bay Rays (2019-20), he has posted a 47-18 record, 3.34 ERA, and 1.159 WHIP. In comparison, Roy Halladay — who Morton has often been compared to for his pitching style — made 103 starts in a Phillies uniform and went 55-29 with a 3.25 ERA and 1.119 WHIP.

Morton shined for the Astros in their 2017 World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing only two runs, while striking out 11 batters and walking just one, in 10 1/3 innings. Now, he will get the chance to help lead the Rays to its first franchise World Series championship. During his ALCS Game 7 appearance against his former team on Saturday, Morton earned the win after tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out six spanning 66 pitches.

Morton is now 4-0 with a 0.46 ERA and 0.86 in winner-take-all postseason games in his career spanning 19 2/3 innings. His four wins are the most in such games all-time, according to MLB Network.

One of former Phillies general manager Matt Klentak’s first moves was acquiring Morton from the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was a team-friendly deal, as the Phillies only had to send back a Clearwater Threshers minor-league pitcher. Coincidentally, the Phillies not bringing back Morton in 2017 is now looked back on as one of Klentak’s worst “non-moves” during his five-season tenure.