2014: $4 million
2015: $8 million
2016: $8 million
2017: $10 million option, $1 million buyout
Here are the career numbers for the 30-year-old right-hander:
I’m a big fan of the deal for a few reasons…
1. Consistency & Effectiveness: Morton won’t overwhelm you with dominance, but he’s a quality, consistent pitcher who fits just fine into the Pirates’ rotation. His “Electric Stuff” helps induce lots of groundballs (62.9% GB rate in 2013 – 1st in MLB) which the Bucs love. He was one of the team’s most reliable arms down the stretch, posting a 1.74 ERA over six key starts between August 7th and September 2nd. He pitched Game 4 of the NLDS, giving up two runs over 5.2 innings in a very Charlie Morton-esque outing. All in all, he’s a reliable guy to have on your staff.
2. The price is right: Charlie’s in his final year of arbitration and was projected to make $3.9 million – that matches up with the $4 million he gets in this new contract. They also buy two of his free agent years at $8 million a piece, which seems very fair in today’s market. A similar arm, Scott Feldman, just got a three-year, $30 million deal with Houston, so $8 mil in 2015 & 2016 for Morton seems more than reasonable.
3. The future: This move also gives the Pirates’ rotation a good direction for the next few years. Even if A.J. Burnett comes back next year, he won’t be around for much longer. Francisco Liriano and Wandy Rodriguez will be free agents after the 2014 season. Gerrit Cole is here now, while guys like Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham are on the way. Morton’s locked up for three years, giving the team a solid, reliable arm in the rotation as old guys move on and young guys move in.
His Tommy John surgery in 2012 prove that injuries concerns may be a risk, but a healthy Charlie Morton is a very solid pitcher. It looks to be a reasonable contract for both sides of the deal.
More to come.