Pirates sign Morton to 3-year extension
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Pirates stuck with right-hander Charlie Morton through five up-and-down years that included two separate surgeries. With free agency looming in a year, Morton wanted to repay that loyalty.
Morton agreed to a three-year contract extension on Wednesday that guarantees him at least $21 million.
The deal will pay Morton $4 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $8 million 2016. It includes a $9.5 million team option for 2017 with a $1 million buyout.
There are performance clauses that could nudge Morton's salary to $10 million in the option year. If Morton is traded anytime during the length of the contract, the option becomes mutual.
“You try to do a few things during your baseball career, and one of them is take care of your family,” Morton said by phone. “From the get-go, it was about me being in Pittsburgh. That's what I wanted the whole time.”
Morton, 30, was in his final year of arbitration eligibility. The deal buys out at least his first two seasons of free agency.
This past season, Morton went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts.
“His growth and development has been a big part of our present and we believe our future success,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “It's a great deal for both sides.”
Morton sat out most of the 2012 season and the first two months of the 2013 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He also had hip surgery in October 2011.
Missing that time means Morton has less mileage on his arm, but it also carries a risk.
“I don't consider myself out of the woods because every season presents new challenges physically,” Morton said. “But I feel better now than ever. I'm in a really good spot.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
- Pirates notebook: No sign of improvement for RHP Sadler
- Cole collects MLB-best 14th win as Pirates take series against Nationals
- Starting 9: Pirates help and the illusion of help
- Pirates minor league report: Moore a breakout star in Morgantown
- Making splash at MLB trade deadline not always in buyers’ best interest
- Pirates notebook: Cervelli cherishes All-Star gift from teammate Burnett
- Nationals pound Burnett, Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Ramirez thrown into spotlight upon joining Pirates
- Pitt football notebook: Boyd returns from monthlong suspension