Pirates decline options on Josh Harrison, Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH -- Second baseman Josh Harrison, a key part of the Pirates' run of three straight playoff berths from 2013 to 2015, and third baseman Jung Ho Kang had options for 2019 declined by the team on Wednesday.

Both players become free agents.

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 hit .250 with three home runs and 37 RBIs in 97 games as his playing time diminished so the Pirates could give a look to prospect Kevin Newman.

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.

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 in 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 a $250,000 buyout to Kang, who was slated to make $5.5 million next year. Kang's contract specified he must be released at the end of the deal.