Bucs give new deal to Morton

From Mirror, wire reports

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates and right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract.

“His growth – his development – has been a big part of our present, and we believe it to be a big part of our future success,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told Jeff Passon of Yahoo Sports. “We felt it was a good opportunity and there was a financial common ground we were able to reach.”

The 30-year-old Morton went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts for the Pirates in 2013. The deal includes a 2017 club option for $9.5 million.

“I think everybody involved is pleased,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “As you continue to look for ways to maintain sustainability, you look to your pitching staff first for stability.took big steps forward in many areas this year, and to have him now as one of the staples moving forward I think is good for all of us.”

Morton missed most of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 while recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery. His return bolstered a rotation that propelled the Pirates to 94 wins and the franchise’s first playoff appearance in 21 years.

“The challenge with Charlie has been when he’s been healthy he’s been very effective,” Huntington said. “Unfortunately, the last three or four years he’s battled the hip and he’s battled the elbow, which gives cause for concern. The same time, he works so hard, he cares so much, he’s going to take care of himself. He’s battled through two elements of adversity, and he understands how to do that.”

Morton gives the Pirates some needed depth and stability behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates still hope to sign free agent A.J. Burnett, who is mulling retirement. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who sat out the final four months of the 2013 season due to arm trouble, is also expected to be back.

“I feel it’s a great deal for both sides,” Huntington said. “Charlie obviously gets financial stability for this and maybe future generations, and it allows him to just pitch and do his thing. We get a pitcher that we like and believe has better days coming.”

In other Pirate news, the team says it has reached a deal with right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez on a one-year contract for $5 million.

The 30-year-old Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 2013 while splitting time with the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal is pending a physical.

Volquez was an All-Star in 2008 when he went 17-6 for the Cincinnati. He has spent the last five years dealing with injury and other issues.