Details of Chris Stewart’s Contract Extension With Pirates

The details for Chris Stewart’s contract extension have been released after he passed his physical earlier today. Chris Cotillo has the yearly breakdown, as well as a buyout for the 2018 season, which is a club option. Stewart will get $1.35M in 2016, followed by $1.4M next year and either $1.5M in 2018, or a $250,000 buyout. The 2016 payroll page has been updated. The current payroll sits at $96.5M.

UPDATE 4:54 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

I expected Stewart to get a bit more than this. He’s guaranteed $3 M over two years, with a max contract of $4.25 M over three years. That means he needs to be worth half a win to justify his guarantee, and about 0.25 WAR per year over three years to justify the max price. He’s been worth at least 0.5 WAR in each of the last five seasons, and has been worth 1.0+ WAR in two of those years. These numbers don’t include his pitch framing, which only adds further value. We’re not talking about the value that Andrew McCutchen or Starling Marte bring with their extensions, but it’s still value. They’ll probably end up getting 1.5-2.0 WAR over the three year span, and paying for about half or a third or that.

The Pirates will most likely get the full value of this deal in 2016, and will continue getting value in 2017 and 2018. They could also easily deal Stewart in the future if they have another backup option, as his salary wouldn’t prohibit a deal. There was so much speculation that this deal signaled something with Cervelli, but it looks like this is just a move to extend a solid backup catcher at a great price. Regardless of whether they bring back Cervelli beyond the 2016 season, it makes sense to extend Stewart at this price.

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