Huge Extension Handed Out By Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates don't have a lot of surefire things on their roster, but when they find one, they want to make sure he's locked in for the long haul. On Thursday, word emerged that they've reached an agreement with ace Mitch Keller on the largest pitching contract in team history.

Keller and the Pirates are in agreement on a five-year, $77 million deal that keeps him under contract through the 2028 season. At $15.4M a season, it's also the highest average annual value in franchise history.

2023 was a breakout season for the 27-year-old, as he notched 210 strikeouts, went 13-9 with a 4.21 ERA and earned his first All-Star nod. 

In addition, he's now been tabbed by manager Derek Shelton for his Second consecutive Opening Day start.

“Obviously what he did last year for us just shows he can be an ace for us,” third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes said. “We’re super happy to have him here long-term with us.” 

“It’s unbelievable,” closer David Bednar said. “I don’t even have words. I’m just excited, as I’m sure he is. It’s well deserved. I’m so happy for him and his family. The journey that it took to get there, it’s remarkable. I think it makes it even sweeter.”

Keller was drafted by the Pirates in the 2nd round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft. He struggled through some tough times in his first few seasons in the big leagues, including a 6.17 ERA as recently as 2021. But the next season he began to show some promise with a 3.94 ERA, and then solidified it all in 2023, registering a 210:55 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 194 innings, along with a 3.31 ERA in his first 19 starts, and 4.21 overall.

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