Pirates Extend Charlie Morton

The Pirates have signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a three-year, $21MM extension that could reach $30MM in total value, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.


Morton, who is represented by Jet Sports Management, will earn $4MM in 2014, $8MM in 2015-16 and has a $1MM buyout on a $9.5MM club option (plus $500K of incentives) for the 2017 season. The option would become a mutual option were Morton to be traded at any point throughout the life of the deal.

Had he not signed the extension, Morton would have been eligible for free agency following the 2014 campaign. The extension is similar to the three-year, $20MM figure suggested as a fair price by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes when examining Pittsburgh's arbitration eligible players back in early November.

The 30-year-old Morton returned from 2012 Tommy John surgery this season and turned in a strong campaign. Morton pitched to a 3.26 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a whopping 62.9 percent ground-ball rate that led all Major League pitchers that threw at least 100 innings.

Originally acquired (along with lefty Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez) in the 2009 trade that sent Nate McLouth to the Braves, Morton broke out with the Pirates in 2011 when he posted a solid 3.83 ERA in 171 2/3 innings. Over his past three seasons, Morton has pitched to a 3.75 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 — numbers that have been deflated, to an extent, by his elbow issues in 2012.

MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Morton to earn $3.9MM in 2014, so the contract essentially guarantees Morton $17MM for a pair of free agent seasons. Had he not signed the extension and had a solid season, Morton would have had a chance to earn more on the free agent market. However, players with Morton's type of injury history haven't typically done this well in contract extensions, and Morton opted for the security of guaranteed money. Morton's agent, Andrew Lowenthal, told Passan that his client never had any desire to leave Pittsburgh:

"The most important part of this deal and the reason why this deal got done is Charlie wanted to remain a Pirate and considers himself a Pirate. He loves the city. He loves the fans. The team stuck by him. This is Charlie’s way of being loyal to the organization. The contract is a win-win."

Morton will join Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Wandy Rodriguez in the 2014 rotation and will now be considered a cornerstone of Pittsburgh's rotation alongside Cole for the foreseeable future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

19 Responses to Pirates Extend Charlie Morton Leave a Reply

  1. LetsGoBucs92122 2 years ago

    Good to see Ground Chuck getting an extension! I like the move by the Pirates.

  2. steelparrot 2 years ago

    Looks like a good extension for the Pirates, he is better than players getting alot more money in free agency imo

  3. Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

    Like this deal a lot. Pretty team friendly deal as well.

  4. domaug 2 years ago

    this is actually a pretty darn good deal IMO

  5. Dave Pierce 2 years ago

    Now these are dollar numbers that match up with the local Root Sports TV-money coming in… (or lack thereof)

    ALSO REFERENCE: Andrew McCutchen contract

  6. Nick Ottino 2 years ago

    Id rather Morton at 3/21 than Feldman at 3/30.

    • Dave Pierce 2 years ago

      It’s more fair to evaluate the last 2 years of the deals here…

      Morton at : $16m
      Feldman at: $20m

  7. Greg Gabrielsen 2 years ago

    Calling Morton a “cornerstone” is probably a stretch, but $8MM/year (his salary for what would be his FA years) for a league average starter when healthy is pretty good in this market.

    • NL_East_Rivalry 2 years ago

      “staple” would have been a better word. Happy Morton can stay with the team he wants and glad the Pirates got a great deal on a solid pitcher. Good luck to both parties.

  8. talcha32 2 years ago

    Safe to say the Pirates won that trade pretty easily

    • GrilledCheese39 2 years ago

      I’m not sure who won the trade, considering there wasn’t one..

      • talcha32 2 years ago

        “Originally acquired (along with lefty Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez) in the 2009 trade that sent Nate McLouth to the Braves”

        Come on bro.

  9. Lee Foo Young 2 years ago

    Now, can it keep him healthy. I’m tired of all the bad luck he’s had. When’s he’s on, he gets more wormburners than my wife gets when she golfs…lol.

    • bucsws2014 2 years ago

      Which is why I worry that Bucs’ starting SS is Jordy Mercer. Chuck should have a personal SS. Hell, bring up Gift Ngoepe for Chuck’s starts, lol.

  10. Lee Foo Young 2 years ago

    Now, can it keep him healthy. I’m tired of all the bad luck he’s had. When’s he’s on, he gets more wormburners than my wife gets when she golfs…lol.

  11. BobMarley22 2 years ago

    This guy is actually very underrated

  12. Smrtbusnisman04 2 years ago

    I think I like this deal for the Pirates. When healthy, Morton is a very effective pitcher though he has his bad moments. Speaking of the Nate McLouth trade, I don’t know if this bodes well for Jeff Locke (especially especially considering how they both finished last season).

  13. GrilledCheese39 2 years ago

    Personally, I think the Pirates should extend Liriano, and trade for Price and extend him. The lack of lefties we have is pathetic. Locke is the only one. Price/Cole/Liriano/Tallion/Morton is a nice rotation to have for a few years.

    • Nathan Boley 2 years ago

      Liriano is a lefty, as is Wandy. Most of our prospects are all righties though, so I see your point.

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