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Pirates extend Chris Stewart for 2 years, $3 million

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Stewart will get just $1.35 million in 2016 and $1.4 million in 2017, with a $250,000 buyout on a $1.5 million club option for 2018, Cotillo tweets. That's such a ridiculously good price, particularly given that Stewart was already projected to make $1.6 million in 2016 anyway, that there was no reason for the Pirates not to take it, whatever their plans for Diaz or Cervelli might have been.

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The Pirates have agreed to terms on a two-year extension with Chris Stewart that includes an option for 2018, Chris Cotillo tweets. Cotillo also says that he thinks the Pirates tried to extend Francisco Cervelli this winter. (Cervelli himself has denied that's the case.) The Stewart deal will provide the Pirates with a bit of low-cost insurance from the possibility of losing both their catchers next offseason. Elias Diaz will likely take over some percentage of the catching duties at some point in the next year or two, so Stewart's contract might mean the Pirates weren't optimistic they could keep Cervelli around.

If the Bucs still wanted to extend Cervelli, though, they potentially could, since Stewart's contract won't be prohibitive. The financial terms of Stewart's deal haven't made public yet, but he was projected to make $1.6 million in his last year before free agency eligibility, and it's likely his new contract begins with something like $1.6 million as his starting point for 2016.

For the Pirates, both the minuses and pluses of extending Stewart are obvious -- Stewart is almost 34 and has no power, and he's likely been performing at the peak of his offensive ability by hitting an empty .292 the last two seasons. On the other hand, his bat is good enough for a backup, and his framing is very good. And whatever the value of his contract is, it will almost certainly be too cheap to be worth worrying about even if he collapses. Also, the 2018 option could provide the Pirates with a valuable bit of flexibility if Stewart is able to retain something close to his current level of performance.

As a fan, too, I'm happy for Stewart, who took a long time to get his career going and whose skill set is undervalued in the arbitration system. His biggest yearly salary has been "only" $1.225 million, so whatever this deal is worth, it will provide him with the kind of financial security most MLB veterans enjoy.