Pirates sign Josh Harrison to contract extension worth up to $50 million

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Josh Harrison had a breakout 2014 for the Pirates, becoming a full-time player for the first time at age 26, making the All-Star team, and hitting .315 with 13 homers and an .837 OPS. And now he’s gotten a big payday to match.

Harrison has agreed to a a four-year, $27.3 million contract that includes team options for 2019 and 2020 that could push the total value of the deal over $50 million. This year’s $2.8 million salary for his first season of arbitration eligibility gets folded into the deal. Pittsburgh now has team control of Harrison through his age-32 season, including his first three years of free agency.

Here’s the year-by-year breakdown of the contract:

Signing bonus: $1 million
2015: $2.8 million
2016: $5 million
2017: $7.5 million
2018: $10 million
2019: $10.5 million option or $1 million buyout
2020: $11.5 million option or $500,000 buyout

Obviously the Pirates on banking on the Harrison they saw last season being the real deal. He hit just .250 with seven homers and a .648 OPS in 229 games through his first three seasons in the majors, but posted much better numbers in the minors. And for Harrison he gets life-changing money one year removed from being a relative afterthought in the Pirates’ plans.

Yankees, Brett Gardner reunite on one-year, $12.5 million deal

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George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.

Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, the Yankees also value Gardner — a veteran of 12 seasons — for his leadership, especially with CC Sabathia and Didi Gregorius gone.

Bringing Gardner back into the fold allows Giancarlo Stanton to remain the full-time DH. Gardner will return to left field with Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge reprising their roles in center and right, respectively.