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Pirates avoid arbitration with Chris Stewart

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have signed Chris Stewart to a one-year, $1.225 million deal, avoiding arbitration. MLBTR projected Stewart would get $1.3 million.

Stewart will back up Francisco Cervelli in 2015. Last year, he had a surprisingly strong season backing up Russell Martin, posting a .362 OBP (albeit with virtually no power -- he had five doubles and no homers in 154 plate appearances) and working effectively with the Pirates' pitching staff. He'll be expected to do the latter again this season, and he can help the team if he does, even if he doesn't contribute as much offensively.

The Pirates have 11 arbitration eligible players who haven't yet signed: Cervelli, Sean Rodriguez, Antonio Bastardo, Neil Walker, Mark Melancon, Travis Snider, Pedro Alvarez, Tony Watson, Josh Harrison, Jared Hughes and Vance Worley.