Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I'm sure Josh Harrison received many great presents on Christmas morning over the years. However, I wonder if he ever received $1 million in his stocking.
The Pirates are currently in Cincinnati to open up the 2015 MLB season against the Reds in a three-game series, so perhaps it's fitting that Harrison's hometown is where it was announced on Wednesday that the club and its starting third baseman reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension.
Harrison, 27, first started appearing in Major League games for the Pirates in 2011, after being acquired in a 2009 trade. Harrison wasn't considered one of the brighter young prospects in the organization, as he was mainly a utility guy who could fill in at various positions.
Last year, however, when injuries plagued the team, Harrison started several positions and played so well, he was hard to keep out of the lineup. And when third baseman Pedro Alvarez failed to overcome his throwing and injury problems, Harrison found a permanent home at third.
Harrison appeared in 143 games in 2014, batting .315 for a Pirates team that made its second straight trip to the postseason. Harrison was also named to his first All-Star Game and finished ninth in NL MVP voting. As for that .315 batting average, it was good enough to finish second in the National League batting race to Justin Morneau.
A $1 million signing bonus was part of Harrison's extension that is reportedly worth $27.3 million and will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2018 season, with club options for both 2019 and 2020.