Pirates decline option on 2B Harrison, 3B Kang

In this Sept. 23, 2018, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison acknowledges the fans as he leaves the field at PNC Park after being replaced in the eighth inning of the team's baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Pittsburgh. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Harrison’s tenure at second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates is over.

Pittsburgh declined 2019 options for Harrison and third baseman Jung Ho Kang.

The Pirates opted to pay Harrison a $1 million buyout rather than the $10.5 million he was scheduled to make next season. The 31-year-old, a key part of Pittsburgh’s run of three straight playoff berths from 2013-15, hit .250 with three home runs and 37 RBIs in 97 games in 2018. His playing time diminished near the end of the season while Pittsburgh gave prospect Kevin Newman a look.

Kang was a star in South Korea when the Pirates signed him to an $11 million, four-year deal in January 2015. He finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2015 after hitting 15 homers and driving in 58 runs as Pittsburgh won 98 games. It would be the high point of Kang’s time with the Pirates.

The 31-year-old Kang didn’t play in North America between September 2016 and June 2018 because of visa issues connected to three DUI arrests his native South Korea. He made it back to the majors with Pittsburgh in September, collecting two hits in six at bats during the final weekend of the season.

Pittsburgh will pay Kang’s $250,000 buyout. He was slated to make $5.5 million next year. Kang’s contract specified he must be released at the end of the deal.