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Pitcher Charlie Morton not surprised by Rays’ decision

The veteran starter will consider re-signing with Tampa Bay, but he will talk to other teams, and he has questions of his own to answer.
Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton delivers in the first inning against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers on Oct. 23, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.
Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton delivers in the first inning against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers on Oct. 23, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 31, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the Rays chose not to pick up Charlie Morton’s $15 million option for 2021, the soon-to-be-37-year-old starter has some decisions of his own to make, such as whether to work out a lower-priced deal with the Rays, sign with another team or retire.

In a Friday night text message to the Tampa Bay Times, here is what Morton had to say about the situation:

"I wasn’t surprised. I anticipated uncertainty about next year’s fiscal situation leaguewide, as far back as March/April, when things got dicey with the league and negotiations. Teams started predicting and claiming large losses months before the season started.

"That doesn’t mean we won’t try to work something out. If there’s mutual interest, the next step is gauging what that looks like. The early indications from (Rays general manger) Erik (Neander) were that they were interested. It goes without saying that it leaves the door open for other teams to call and get a feel for where we are.

"I’ve said now for a few years that the typical factors will come into play every year moving forward. Am I healthy? Am I throwing effectively? Is it a good group? Will we compete? Does it make sense financially and geographically?

"Every year I try to objectively answer these questions, all the while knowing I’m not going to go sign with a team just to play and just to occupy space in someone’s clubhouse. Potentially take a spot from someone else. Waste a coach’s time and not produce for my teammates and the organization I’m with.''