Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yahoo Sports: Pirates sign RHP Charlie Morton to 3yr/$21 million extension

Solid deal, given the current market.

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a three-year, $21 million contract extension Wednesday that could be worth up to $30 million, betting on the 30-year-old to continue a successful return from Tommy John surgery and hedging against the increasing price of starting pitching, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Morton’s extension represents the biggest deal given out at an otherwise-slow Winter Meetings and the largest for a pitcher in Pirates franchise history. He returned from reconstructive elbow surgery in June and posted a career-best 3.26 ERA over 20 starts and 116 innings, leading starters with a 62.9 percent groundball rate, the second-highest mark for any starter over the last five seasons.

“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.”

Esoteric Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:37 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates, pittsburgh

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. rudygamble Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4616189)
"....we would like Charlie Morton to retire as a Pirate and feel this contract will accomplish that."
   2. The District Attorney Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4616213)
Jeez, I don't even know if anyone owns him in my 24-team Strat-O-Matic league. #trenchantanalysis
   3. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4616217)
Solid deal, given the current market.

As I opined on the Omnichatter thread, this.
   4. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4616222)
I'm not sure I want to live in a world where Charlie Morton goes for 7m per.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4616227)
"....we would like Charlie Morton to retire as a Pirate and feel this contract will accomplish that."

Quite possibly a 1-year deal could have accomplished that too. I mean, Charlie Morton? The guy who's 30 with one season of more than 20 starts?

They must be convinced that the Tommy John surgery has made him a better pitcher. I guess that happens sometimes.
   6. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4616229)
I was thinking of Carl Morton. I like the Charlie Morton signing a lot better than that.
   7. Baldrick Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4616235)
His 10 most similar guys through age 29 include three guys who never pitched again, three guys who were worth negative WAR, three more who were worth between 0 and 3 WAR...and Mike Scott. So: there's a 90% chance this deal is a disaster and a 10% chance he wins a Cy Young award in 2015.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4616236)
I guess in a world where Vargas gets 4/$32 this is an OK deal. And the peripherals have been solid for the last three years (decent K/BB, good HR rate).

I wonder if these sorts of deals indicate teams are adjusting to the fact that they can't really count on a pitcher for more than, on average, maybe 25 starts a year. This contract is OK if they can get 400 innings of average starting out of him (about 4 WAR) over three years. If he gives them 500 then hooray.
   9. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4616239)
The most valuable guy in the Nate McLouth deal was Charlie Morton? Seriously?
   10. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4616243)
Quite possibly a 1-year deal could have accomplished that too.

He was already signed through the end of this season. In effect, this is a two-year extension.
   11. SouthSideRyan Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:23 PM (#4616247)
Could be worse, the Pirates could've signed Edinson Volquez to a 5M deal.
   12. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:23 PM (#4616248)
I'm not sure I want to live in a world where Charlie Morton goes for 7m per.

Remember when people were questioning whether or not handing out 3 or 4 year deals for 7 million a year to pitchers like Kevin Millwood were a good idea?
   13. Baldrick Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:26 PM (#4616251)
I guess in a world where Vargas gets 4/$32 this is an OK deal. And the peripherals have been solid for the last three years (decent K/BB, good HR rate).

His K/BB rate over the last three years is 1.77. That's not decent; it's terrible. It would be the second-worst number among qualified starters in the NL last year.

Even the ratio from 2013 of 2.36 is below average, and would have been in the bottom quartile of NL starters. Now, 'bottom quartile' still probably means 'acceptable 4th/5th starter,' so if he can actually sustain the peripherals of 2013, I guess he's a decent bet for the contract. But that's a pretty big if.
   14. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:44 PM (#4616279)
3/21 looks to me like about the going rate for a solid 4. But his checkered injury history makes me question whether it was really worth it.

Phil Hughes went for 3/24; who got the better deal for their money?
   15. Danny Posted: December 11, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4616318)
Morton was eligible for arbitration this year, and MLBTR had him penciled in for $4 million. If correct, that means the "extension" is 2 years for $16 million, with a team option for the third year at $9.5 million ($1M buyout).
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4616326)
His K/BB rate over the last three years is 1.77. That's not decent; it's terrible. It would be the second-worst number among qualified starters in the NL last year.

Well.... OK, I misread a line and plugged in his 2010 K/BB for his 2011. He had a bad K/BB in 2011 but it was over 2 in 2010 and over 2 in 2012-13. And in 2011 when the K/BB was not good (which was a Pirates' team-wide problem for several years) the HR/9 was a league-leading .3 ... which was also .5 last year and .9 in 2012 but terrible in 2010.

His ERAs over the last 3 seasons are 3.83, 4.65 and 3.26 (97 ERA+); his FIPs were 3.77, 4.17 and 3.60; his xFIPS were 4.08, 4.04 and 3.69. League average ERA for his park/context was about 3.80. League average starters are around a 94-95 ERA+ and he projects as about league-average, maybe a little below. This is what 25 starts of league-average pitching costs these days. Whether it's worth it to sign him for 3 years (or extend for 2) is a good question but it's all the rage. Like any league-average guy with standard or worse stuff, he could become worthless at any moment.

Vargas from 2011-13 had a better K/BB (although in line with Morton 2010 and 12-13) but a lousy HR/9 and a 94 ERA+. He's also one year older. His big advantage is 570 IP over the last three. I don't expect much from either but I'll guess that Vargas will probably out-produce Morton in the future due to durability.

But in both cases, their primary responsibility is to not suck for 130-180 innings a year to keep the guys who do suck off the field.

To put it another way, Morton has only 338 IP over the last three seasons. That is not an impressive total but there are only 139 pitchers to surpass 300 IP over the last three years ... and 53 of them had a worse ERA+ than Morton, 31 of them had less WAR.

Scott Feldman just signed for 3/$30 and over the last three years he has 337 IP with a 98 ERA+ and 2.1 WAR. Nolasco has a lot more innings (so 4.3 WAR) but a 91 ERA+ and he got 4/$49. Hughes had 412 IP, 1.1 WAR with an 86 ERA+ and got 3/$24. The contracts were signed under vastly different circumstances but for the last 3 years Danks hasn't really been any better than Morton (2.6 WAR) and he's still owed 3/$43. I assume Haren, Lincecum and whatever Ubaldo signs for are not under consideration.

You don't have to convince me that this seems like a crazy contract. But, by that standard, so are Hughes, Vargas, Feldman, Nolasco, Edwin Jackson, whatever Porcello is about to get (whether arb or extension), etc.

I'm not sure I want to live in a world where Charlie Morton goes for 7m per.

Yet I am all for living in a world where mediocrity is overcompensated.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
HowardMegdal
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogAstros To Promote George Springer
(27 - 3:14pm, Apr 16)
Last: Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields)

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(127 - 3:14pm, Apr 16)
Last: Rickey! In a van on 95 south...

NewsblogDaniel Bryan's 'YES!' chant has spread to the Pirates' dugout
(23 - 3:13pm, Apr 16)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(853 - 3:10pm, Apr 16)
Last: I am going to be Frank

NewsblogGleeman: Mets minor league team is hosting “Seinfeld night”
(5 - 3:10pm, Apr 16)
Last: Benji Gil Gamesh Rises

NewsblogMinuteman News Center: Giandurco: This means WAR
(38 - 3:10pm, Apr 16)
Last: TDF, situational idiot

NewsblogOMNICHATTER: Wednesday April 16, 2014
(17 - 3:08pm, Apr 16)
Last: madvillain

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1317 - 3:06pm, Apr 16)
Last: Morty Causa

NewsblogVerducci: Overuse of young pitchers fueling MLB's Tommy John surgery problem
(27 - 3:02pm, Apr 16)
Last: bunyon

NewsblogNightengale: Pujols nears 500 home runs...and no one seems to care
(34 - 2:52pm, Apr 16)
Last: Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch)

NewsblogOT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014
(224 - 2:46pm, Apr 16)
Last: andrewberg

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-16-2014
(7 - 2:43pm, Apr 16)
Last: Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings

NewsblogExposition:The Jonah Keri Mega Q&A
(3 - 2:15pm, Apr 16)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

NewsblogGothamist: Yankee Stadium Is Selling Nachos In A Helmet For $20
(62 - 2:04pm, Apr 16)
Last: Canker Soriano

NewsblogOT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2
(131 - 1:10pm, Apr 16)
Last: Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.1858 seconds
52 querie(s) executed