Phillies could reunite with free-agent RHP Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Phillies are reportedly interested in a reunion with Charlie Morton, who wants to pitch on the East Coast in 2021.

Ever since starting pitcher Charlie Morton last donned a Philadelphia Phillies uniform in April 2016 (his season was cut short due to a freak injury while running to first base), his career arguably has turned around for the better. There is a chance he could don red pinstripes once again, five years later.

The Tampa Bay Rays recently declined Morton’s $15 million option for 2021, making him a free agent, although Rays General Manager Erik Neander hinted the club would be interested in bringing him back on a lesser deal.

Amid the Rays cutting ties with Morton, at least for now, rumors have suggested that he might be considering retirement. The right-hander’s agent, B.B. Abbott, recently put those rumors to rest and said his client wants to play in 2021, preferably to remain in Tampa.

In a recent MLB Network report, insider Jon Heyman believes the Phillies have interest in a potential reunion with the 13-year veteran.

In 97 regular season starts since Morton last played for the Phillies, he has gone 47-18 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.159 WHIP ratio, while striking out 646 batters and walking just 181. Along with two All-Star nods, the first of his career coming in his age 34 season, Morton has also shined through 12 postseason appearances since the 2016 season, going 7-2 with an ERA just north of 3.40.

Morton won the World Series with the Astros in 2017, and last month fell two team wins shy of another championship in 2020 with the Rays  — both series coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Morton will turn 37 on November 12; while Morton reportedly would prefer to play on the east coast and also consider the midwest, he “probably wouldn’t do the west coast,” according to Heyman, who adds: “I know there is already a lot of interest in him. He was very good this postseason once again. … Certainly, any team could probably use Charlie Morton. I think we will see him back on a one-year deal.”

The Phillies adding a solid middle-of-the-rotation, veteran starting pitcher to replace Jake Arrieta is among the top of their offseason needs list. Morton seems like the perfect player for that role, complementing Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler in the starting rotation.

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