Braves Sign Charlie Morton to One-Year, $15 Million Deal

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Rays' Charlie Morton pitches ALDS Game 3 vs. Astros

The Braves have signed starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million deal, the team announced Tuesday morning. 

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand was first to report the news.

The Braves had shown a strong interest in the 37-year-old this offseason. Morton will add a high-quality veteran presence to the team's starting rotation that also features Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Drew Smyly. Atlanta signed Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal last week.

Feinsand reports the Braves and Rays were the finalists to land Morton. Late last month, Tampa Bay declined Morton's $15 million club option, making him a free agent. 

General manager Erik Neander said the team's decision to decline Morton's option was based only on money, and the Rays planned to get "creative" this offseason and hoped to bring back the right-hander. Morton would have eaten up nearly one-quarter of the Rays' 2021 payroll that's expected to be around $60 million.

Morton was limited to nine starts in the 2020 regular season due to shoulder issues and posted a 4.74 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 38.0 innings pitched. During the postseason, he posted an impressive 2.70 ERA in four starts.

Morton helped lead the Rays to the 2020 World Series, marking the club's second Fall Classic appearance in team history. Tampa Bay lost in six games to the Dodgers, who also defeated Atlanta in the National League Championship Series. Now Morton will help the Braves contend for another postseason appearance.

Atlanta drafted Morton in 2002, and he made his major-league debut with the club in 2008 before being traded to Pittsburgh the following year. In 13 career postseason games, Morton has gone 7–3 with a 3.38 ERA. He finished third in the 2019 American League Cy Young Award voting.