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Pitchers Morton, Hanrahan sign 1-year contracts with Pirates

| Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

The Pirates on Monday signed starter Charlie Morton and closer Joel Hanrahan to one-year contracts, avoiding salary arbitration with both pitchers.

Hanrahan will make $4.1 million; Morton, $2.445 million.

Hanrahan, 30, also can make up to $50,000 in performance bonuses, based on games finished. He'll get $10,000 each if he finishes 40 and 45 games. He'll get $15,000 each if he finishes 50 and 60 games.

Last year, Hanrahan made $1.4 million and put himself in line for a significant raise by earning his first All-Star berth. The right-hander finished 59 games and racked up 40 saves, the third-highest single-season total in Pirates history.

Morton, 28, made $441,000 last season and went 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 29 starts. He led the staff with 171 23 innings pitched and was second in wins behind Kevin Correia.

The Pirates have four arbitration-eligible players yet to sign: pitchers Evan Meek and Jeff Karstens, and infielders Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones.

The deadline to settle contracts without formally beginning the arbitration process is midnight tonight. On Wednesday, teams and unsigned players must publicly exchange contract figures. If a case goes to a hearing, a board of arbiters will choose one of the two figures submitted.

The Pirates previously avoided arbitration by signing relievers Jason Grilli ($1.1 million) and Chris Resop ($850,000).

The club is on track for an Opening Day payroll of about $47 million for all players on the 40-man roster.

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