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Pirates sign Charlie Morton to $21 million extension

Dec 11, 2013, 1:23 PM EDT

Charlie Morton Getty Getty Images

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pirates and right-hander Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract extension that also includes a team option for 2017.

Morton would have been eligible for free agency next offseason, but now the Pirates will have him under team control for $4 million in 2014, $8 million in both 2015 and 2016, and $9.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2017.

Pittsburgh acquired Morton from Atlanta in the mid-2009 deal for Nate McLouth and he’s emerged as a solid mid-rotation starter with a 3.75 ERA during the past three seasons. However, the ground-ball machine has also thrown a total of just 338 innings over that three-year span, including making only 20 starts this year and eight starts last year due to Tommy John elbow surgery.

Buying out his first two (and potentially three) years of free agency for a modest $21 million commitment is a smart risk for the Pirates, because if healthy Morton certainly would have been in line for a lot more on the open market next winter.

  1. bobulated - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    At the time it happened Braves fans thought the McOut trade was a steal.

    • mazblast - Dec 15, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      Pirates fans, too. How quickly we forget that the one team our franchise ever snookered previously in all the dump deals was the Braves, when we got Jason Schmidt.

      (OK, that was negated by the meager return when they dealt Schmidt to SF, but still…)

      • bobulated - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Totally agree mazblast but I would argue Schmidt would have never got the chance to blossom and become “Jason Schmidt” in Atlanta. At the time Jason was trying to slot onto a staff with 3 HOFers for a team that was perennially in the race. He often wilted under that spotlight as a Brave despite his great stuff and the best thing that happened to his career was to go somewhere with less pressure (and away from Leo “Old School” Mazzone) to grow into the excellent pitcher he became. The Braves received some excellent work from Nagle so in my book that was win-win for both teams.

  2. ejheim62 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    I remember when they traded McLouth away, was furious (lifetime Pirates fan since 1970) and wasn’t impressed with Charlie. Turned out to be a lot better trade for Pittsburgh than I had expected. I guess that’s why i’m not a G.M.

    Bobulated – “McOut”. classic!

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