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Charlie Morton could earn $45M over 3 years with Rays

January 3, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — All-Star right-hander Charlie Morton could earn $45 million over three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays if he doesn’t have lengthy injury problems the next two years and the team exercises a $15 million option for 2021.

Morton is guaranteed $15 million in each of the next two seasons as part of the deal announced Dec. 21.

Tampa Bay has a $1 million option for 2021, but the price increases depending on disabled list time during the next two seasons: $3 million for 151-200 DL days, $5 million for 91-150, $10 million for 31-90 and $5 million for 15 or fewer.

He would get a $1 million assignment bonus if traded before the end of this season, $500,000 if traded after.

Morton was 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA last year for Houston, making a career-high 30 starts. He was 46-71 with Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia before going to Houston, and he had Tommy John surgery in June 2012.

He joins a Rays staff led by AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

Tampa Bay’s rotation was wrecked by injuries last year, and the team often used relief pitchers as starters in their “opener” strategy on the way to 90 wins.

The Rays’ approach became a trend in baseball, especially when teams saw how well it worked. Tampa Bay went 46-38 with traditional starters and was 44-34 when using relievers at the start.

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