Pirates exercise $14.75M option on OF Andrew McCutchen


PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates have exercised their $14.75 million option on star outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

The 31-year-old, a five-time All-Star and the 2013 NL Most Valuable Player, signed a $51.5 million, six-year deal in 2012 that included the option, which had a $1 million buyout attached.

McCutchen hit a team-high 28 homers and drove in 88 runs for the Pirates last season. He began the season in right field but returned to center after Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games for a positive drug test.

Pittsburgh explored trading McCutchen last offseason. General manager Neal Huntington said repeatedly near the end of the 2017 season Pittsburgh’s best chance at winning in 2018 is with McCutchen in the lineup.

The Pirates declined $1.25 million options on catcher Chris Stewart and reliever Wade Leblanc. Stewart gets a $250,000 buyout and LeBlanc $50,000. LeBlanc was sent outright to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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