The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Friday afternoon that they have picked up the 2018 option for center fielder Andrew McCutchen. They also announced that they have declined the options for catcher Chris Stewart and lefty reliever Wade LeBlanc.
McCutchen was an easy choice for his 2018 option. The Pirates had a $14.5 M option, which is just $500,000 more than he was paid this season. He hit .279/.363/.486 in 156 games this season.
Stewart was a decision between a $1.5 M option, or a $250,000 buyout. He hit .183/.241/.221 in 51 games this season. The Pirates have Elias Diaz as a backup option to Francisco Cervelli for the majors in 2018, along with Jacob Stallings as a strong Triple-A option.
LeBlanc had his option declined and the Pirates were able to send him outright to Indianapolis. He doesn’t have enough service time in to reach Major League free agency, but he can choose minor league free agency. LeBlanc had a $1.25 M option for 2018 and a $50,000 buyout. He had a 4.50 ERA, a 4.28 FIP and a 1.19 WHIP, with 54 strikeouts in 68 innings over 50 appearances this season.