PORT CHARLOTTE - The Rays were quite pleased this off-season to be able to sign Charlie Morton, landing the veteran starter on a two-year, $30 million deal that yields the highest annual salary in franchise history.
And Morton showed up in Port Charlotte on Tuesday happy to be with them.
"This is nice,'' Morton said.
Signing with the Rays came with an added convenience for Morton, as can stay year-round in his Bradenton home and make the daily drive to Port Charlotte and St. Petersburg, which eases the transition to a new team after spending the last two seasons with the Astros, where he was popular for what he did on the mound and in the clubhouse. (And with former teammate Lance McCullers, see below.)
"Being at home definitely makes it easier because I know I’m going to see my family at home,'' he said. "That’s I guess, calming, comforting. So that makes it easier.''
Tuesday was for getting familiar with his new environs.
“This is where you have to kind of be cognizant of who you’re talking to, trying to remember names, and leave a decent first impression,'' Morton said.
Also, ‘”Just trying to get a feel for the facility. And get going tomorrow.'’