Mariners potential free agent target: Charlie Morton

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Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers the pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game Three of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 23, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers the pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game Three of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 23, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Morton and Zunino talk before World Series game
Charlie Morton #50 and former Mariner Mike Zunino #10 head toward the dugout prior to Game Three of the 2020 MLB World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Globe Life Field on October 23, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays declined Charlie Morton’s team option. Should the Mariners go after him as the 36-year-old vet hits the free market?

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Friday that two of their key pieces for their 2020 World Series run had their team options declined. Former Mariner Mike Zunino will become a free agent and will be joined on the open market by Charlie Morton.

Most might have thought that Morton would have his $15 million team option accepted for the 2021 season after his impressive postseason that featured a game 7 win in the ALCS. However, the Rays declined Morton’s team option and it seems as if Morton wants to contemplate retirement before he commits to a team for 2021.

Morton would be a valuable signing for any team as he has an impressive career of work, especially in the postseason. Morton has a career 4.08 ERA in 13 MLB seasons with 5 different teams.

While 7 of his first 8 MLB seasons were spent in Pittsburgh, he will be remembered for his career starting at the age of 33. In his two years with both Houston and Tampa Bay he appeared in two All-Star games and two World Series, winning one with the Astros. He had a 3.36 ERA in Houston and a 3.33 ERA in Tampa Bay.

So is it possible that Morton could end his career with the Mariners?

In all likelihood, Charlie Morton will not be on the Mariners in 2021. The two most probable options for Morton are retirement and signing with the Tampa Bay Rays on a one-year deal.

I see it to be unlikely that Morton would go anywhere else this late in his career especially if he is contemplating retirement. But, if he were to say that he will be pitching in 2021 the Mariners should certainly give him a call.

Bringing Morton in with the young Mariners staff would be very beneficial. He could help them compete, and is a very soft-spoken guy who would not care if he were the #1 starter, or the #5 starter. If the Mariners could offer Morton a deal that is better monetarily than any competitor he could end up taking the offer with the promise that he could be traded to a competitor if the Mariners have another down season in 2021.

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