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All-Star Righty Charlie Morton Joining Tampa Bay

December 12, 2018 - 2:15 pm
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on Major League Baseball's winter meetings (all times local):

2:02 p.m.

All-Star pitcher Charlie Morton has reached a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A person familiar with the agreement tells The Associated Press the contract is for two years and $30 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been officially announced.

The 35-year-old Morton was a first-time All-Star last season when he went 15-3 for Houston. He had a 3.13 ERA in a career-high 30 starts.

Morton helped the Astros win their first championship in 2017. He started and won Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees, then was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series against the Dodgers with four innings of relief.

The right-hander joins a Rays staff led by AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. The Tampa Bay rotation was beset by injuries this year, and the team often used relief pitchers as starters in their "opener" strategy on their way to 90 wins.

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1:34 p.m.

Agent Scott Boras says there are teams ready to move right now on Bryce Harper.

But still no word on where the free agent slugger might end up — or when.

Boras was at the winter meetings before noon, holding court for the media in what's become an annual tradition at this gathering.

Harper was the prime topic. Boras represents the star, who lives here in Las Vegas.

"Bryce is open to a lot of different venues, so it's really about what a lot of owners have said to him about their commitments and what they want to do long term," Boras said.

And it could be a swift process, although not all Boras clients wind up signing quickly.

"So, we're really at a point where you could be meetings away from a deal," Boras said. "And then again, you could be in the situation where it's just further meetings and conversation."

The 26-year-old Harper had a career-high 100 RBIs while hitting 34 home runs and batting .249 last season for the Washington Nationals.

Boras attracted quite a crowd, as always, for his session that lasted over a half-hour. He spoke next to a sparkling Christmas tree at the Mandalay Bay as security personnel tried to maintain a clear pathway through the hotel and casino corridor.

Boras often uses these wide-ranging talks to toss out ideas on the sport in general. This time, he called for the majors to add wild-card teams.

"I think the October madness concept in baseball works tremendously," he said.

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12:51 p.m.

The Boston Red Sox have reached agreement with free agent outfielder Gorkys Hernandez on a minor league deal.

The 31-year-old Hernandez hit 15 home runs while batting .234 with 40 RBIs in 142 games for San Francisco last season. In 2017, he didn't hit a home run in 310 at-bats.

The Giants recently opted not to offer Hernandez a contract for next year. He got a spring training invite to big league camp with the World Series champion Red Sox.

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12:20 p.m.

A person familiar with the negotiations says shortstop Jordy Mercer and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a $5.25 million, one-year contract.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement was subject to a successful physical.

Mercer had spent his entire seven-season big league career with Pittsburgh. The 32-year-old hit .251 with six homers and 39 RBIs, down from 14 homers and 58 RBIs in 2017.

His agreement was first reported by Fancred.

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