4:10pm: The Pirates have announced the two-year extension and third-year club option via press release.
JAN. 19, 3:39pm: Stewart has passed his physical, and his deal will be announced soon, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Per Cotillo, Stewart will earn $3MM over the life of the deal. That includes salaries of $1.35MM in 2016, $1.4MM in 2017 and a $250K buyout on a $1.5MM option for the 2018 season (links to Twitter).
JAN. 14: The Pirates have reached agreement on a two-year extension with backstop Chris Stewart, according to a report from Robert Murray of Baseball Essential (Twitter link). The deal will reportedly also come with a club option for a third season.
MLBTR had projected Stewart to earn $1.6MM this season in his final year of arbitration eligibility. Instead of just taking a single-season payout, he’ll promise away one free agent season and leave another in the control of the Pirates.
Stewart, 33, has taken 1,060 plate appearances in parts of nine seasons in the majors. He’s settled in as a reserve for the Bucs over the last two years, slashing .292/.340/.336 (without a single home run or stolen base) in that period. He’s a highly-rated pitch framer and was charged with just one passed ball last year, though he’s caught less than a quarter of the baserunners who’ve tried to steal on him in Pittsburgh.
While the guaranteed salary has yet to be reported, it seems obvious with the move that Pittsburgh intends to utilize Stewart as its backup for at least the next two seasons. What remains unclear is whether the organization will be able to work out a multi-year arrangement with starter Francisco Cervelli, who had a breakout 2015 campaign and is also entering his final year of arbitration control.