Pittsburgh Pirates: Money Saved on Harrison and Kang

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a couple of roster moves yesterday where they declined team options.  The team saved a good bit of money by doing so.

Over the last few days, teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates have had to make decisions on players who had a club or mutual options.  For the Pittsburgh Pirates, two players had club options.  One of these players was an obvious decision while the other player was hard to figure out what the team would do.

Josh Harrison was the first player they decided to decline their option on.  Harrison was set to make $10.5 million in 2019.  Instead, the team paid Harrison $1 million and set him to the free agent market.  The Pittsburgh Pirates likely tried to trade Harrison, but with teams knowing that the Bucs would likely cut him anyhow there would be no market.  The second player was Jung-Ho Kang.  Kang had a club option for $5.5 million with a $250K buyout.  They cut Kang, but according to Neal Huntington, the team would like to bring him back on a different contract. This makes sense as Kang should have very limited bargaining power with all the time he has missed over the last few years.

So with that being said, the Pittsburgh Pirates saved a lot of money yesterday.  While many fans get upset about the team cutting veteran cost, this move should pay off in the long run.  Josh Harrison has regressed significantly since his impressive 2014 campaign.  While he got the contract extension he deserved after that breakout season, he has not quite lived up to it.  He has slowly gotten worse each year since. So by cutting him, the Pittsburgh Pirates have saved a total of $9.5 million.

Kang, on the other hand, will save the team $5 .25 million after his buy out.  While he likely could be worth that money, the team was wise not to invest that kind of money on a player who has not been on the field really at all over the last two years.  Now, Kang is a free agent and able to be signed by any other team, which could be a risk if he performs elsewhere.

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All in all, the Pittsburgh Pirates made two moves that in the past would have not been popular with the team.  Instead, it is the right move.  The team is saving money and is allowing their young and more upside players to have more playing time.  The best thing that the Pittsburgh Pirates can do now use that money saved to upgrade at other positions.  If they do that, then the team should not get any backlash for the moves.