Red Sox

Report: Here's how close Red Sox came to signing Morton

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox still haven't landed a quality pitcher in free agency, but at least they're trying.

The Red Sox "aggressively pursued" Charlie Morton and made a "competitive offer" to the right-hander before he signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo reported Wednesday.

While Morton is a Connecticut native, he preferred to sign with a team relatively close to his family in Bradenton, Fla. Cotillo reports the Tampa Bay Rays were the runner-ups to re-sign Morton if he passed on Atlanta, but that Boston was "not far behind."

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Morton has plenty of familiarity with the Red Sox: He won a World Series with Alex Cora in 2017 when the current Red Sox manager was the Houston Astros' bench coach before Chaim Bloom's Tampa Bay Rays signed him in December 2018.

Morton turned 37 last month but has reinvigorated his career in the past three years, earning All-Star nods in 2018 and 2019 before regressing slightly this past season with a 4.74 ERA.

The Red Sox reportedly have been among baseball's most aggressive teams in pursuing pitching help, and their offer to Morton is proof. Eduardo Rodriguez, who missed the 2020 season due to myocarditis, is the team's de facto No. 1 starter with Chris Sale sidelined until at least the middle of next summer.

There are plenty of other big names on the market -- the Sox have been linked to Corey Kluber, J.A. Happ and Garrett Richards, among others -- so Bloom still has work to do.