I don't know if it is the former Tampa guy, but the team has adopted a different posture regarding 40-man transactions of late. Remember they only elevated Rojas to the 40-man this year before the rule 5 draft. He was really the only top prospect they had to protect, though there were question about De La Cruz and Miller and other relievers. They clearly made the right call there since they did not lose anybody, but I also think they realize De La Cruz and Miller were not ready AND that they are essentially replaceable as 40-man prospects.
I suspect this new regime would NOT have protected Morales back in the Fall of 2020. Remember he pitched in Lakewood in 2019 and then did not pitch in 2020. When he started at Reading in 2021 he was clearly not quite ready for the double jump to Reading. He had significant major league potential of course, but it was clearly a year too early for him to have any shot at sticking on a major league roster. Protecting him in 2020 was a mistake. Then off his mediocre 2021 they may not have had to protect him until this year. We blew 2 option years for Morales for essentially nothing.
Morales IS better than several of the back end pitchers on the 40 this year though. That is why they likely have to trade him or lose him. It is a problem of their own making. The new regime clearly values major league immediate needs on the 40 as they have to with a 26-man roster and so many pitching needs throughout the year. While MLB needs a 42-man roster to solve some of these problems, until then there just are not going to be lots of younger rule 5 draft picks that stick on major league rosters for anybody.
It is good the new regime is smarter. It is bad that it might cost us Morales.