Pirates Sign Kevin Correia

The Pirates officially signed Kevin Correia to a two-year, $8MM deal.  He can earn another $1MM in performance bonuses; Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the contract breakdown.  The team announced the deal, with this quote from GM Neal Huntington:

"Kevin Correia is a solid major league starting pitcher and a strong addition to our rotation.  We feel he is poised for a return to his 2009 form where he gave his club a chance to win nearly every start while carrying a significant innings pitched workload."

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick broke news of the agreement.  Correia will join Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Ross Ohlendorf and possibly Scott Olsen in the Pirates' rotation. 

Aside from Yoslan Herrera, it has been 12 years since the Pirates last gave a free agent pitcher a multiyear deal – Cam Bonifay signed Pete Schourek to a two-year, $4MM deal in '98.  Back on November 10th, two MLBTR writers predicted Correia would sign with the Pirates.

Correia posted a 5.40 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 145 innings for the Padres in 2010. The 30-year-old missed time in May after his younger brother died in a tragic accident. He lost his rotation spot to Tim Stauffer after a trio of poor starts in late August. Agents Scott Leventhal and Damon Lapa did much better than I expected them to when I looked ahead to Correia's free agency this fall.

Correia’s walk rate jumped from 2.9 BB/9 to 4.0 BB/9 in 2010, but some of his stats reflect more favorably on his performance. Despite the righty's 5.40 ERA, defense-independent pitching stats suggest he was unlucky. Nearly 15% of fly balls hit off of Correia left the yard, so homers inflated his ERA. He induces ground balls and is just one year removed from a season in which he posted a 3.91 ERA in 33 starts, which likely contributed to GM Neal Huntington's willingness to make an $8MM guarantee.

The Padres offered Correia arbitration, so they'll obtain a supplementary first round pick in the 2011 draft for losing the Type B free agent.

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