The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a three-year, $21 million contract extension that could be worth up to $30 million, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The Pirates are betting on Morton, who recently returned from Tommy John surgery. His extension is the largest for a pitcher in franchise history.
Morton came back in June and posted a career-best 3.26 ERA through 116 innings, leading starters with a 62.9 percent groundball rate, the second-highest mark for any starter over the last five seasons. From Yahoo! Sports' report:
“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,” said Morton’s agent, Andrew Lowenthal of Jet Sports Management, who confirmed the deal to Yahoo Sports. “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 would have been a free agent in 2014. Instead, he will receive $4 million this season, $8 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016 with a club option for the 2017 season worth $9.5 million. The contract also includes $500,000 in potential incentives and a $1 million buyout.
A Pirate for the next three years, Morton is aiming big, Lowenthal said. From Yahoo!:
“He was there through the lean years,” Lowenthal said. “Now he wants to win a World Series with the Pirates.“Bryan Stroh, the Pirates’ general counsel, deserves a lot of credit for this. It had a lot of left turns and right turns. He stuck with it and made sure we came to a fair arrangement for both sides.”