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Pirates decline Josh Harrison, Jung Ho Kang’s options


MLB.com’s Adam Berry reports that the Pirates have declined options on infielders Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang, making them both free agents. Harrison’s option was for $10.5 million and Kang’s was for $5.5 million.

Harrison, 31, was limited to 97 games in 2018 due to a fractured hand and a hamstring injury. He hit a disappointing .250/.293/.363 with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 374 plate appearances.

Kang, 31, was recently allowed to return to the Pirates. He missed the entire 2017 season following an arrest for his third DUI in South Korea. Kang had also been investigated in 2016 by Chicago police for an alleged sexual assault incident. In three games for the Pirates at the end of this past season, Kang registered a pair of singles in six trips to the plate.

Pirates shut down Chris Archer

Chris Archer
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The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.

Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.