Morton, Hanrahan avoid arbitration, sign deals for 1 year
The Pirates agreed to terms with Joel Hanrahan and Charlie Morton on one-year contracts Monday, which allowed both players to avoid salary arbitration and reduced the number of unsigned players to four.
Hanrahan will make $4.1 million and can earn up to an additional $50,000 in performance-based incentives, according to a source. Morton, according to sources, will make $2,445,000. Morton was eligible for arbitration for the first time, Hanrahan for the second time.
Hanrahan, 30, saved 40 games last season and made the National League All-Star team. The right-hander also avoided arbitration before last season, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $1.4 million contract for 2011.
Hanrahan joined the Pirates in 2009 along with Lastings Milledge from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan. He struck out 100 in 692/3 innings in 2010. Last season, he lowered his ERA from 3.62 to 1.83 and his WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) from 1.21 to 1.05, but his strikeouts dropped to 61 in 682/3 innings.
Morton, 28, who came to the Pirates along with Jeff Locke and Gorkys Hernandez from the Atlanta Braves for Nate McLouth in 2009, made $441,000 in '11. He struggled in '10, going 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA and was demoted to the minors, where he made 14 starts for Class AAA Indianapolis.
Morton, a right-hander, lowered his arm slot before last season to increase the movement on his go-to pitch, the sinker, and began the season with great results. He had a 2.52 ERA through early June, including two complete games. His effectiveness waned in June, however, and his ERA climbed to 4.04 at the end of July.
Morton finished 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA after rebounding near the end of the season. He had surgery in October to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He may return from rehabilitation in time for spring training, but could miss his first few scheduled starts of the season.
Today is the deadline for teams and players to exchange salary figures for the arbitration process, but the sides can continue to negotiate after that point. Evan Meek, Jeff Karstens, Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee are eligible for arbitration and remain unsigned.
The Pirates have about $35 million committed to their 40-man roster payroll in 2012 with those four players not yet under contract.
First Published January 17, 2012 12:00 am