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Sources: Pirates, Mitch Keller Agree to 5-Year Extension

Mitch Keller and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a five-year contract, Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reports. The right-hander had a stellar 2023 campaign where he struck out 210 batters and was an All-Star for the first time when finished 13-9 with a 4.21 ERA. Keller will be the pitcher who will anchor the starting rotation for the team that drafted him in the second of the 2014 MLB Draft. He is 25-38 with a 4.71 ERA in 102 appearances. He has 521 strikeouts in 522 2/3 innings.

Mitch Keller Gets His Extension

Keller already agreed on a one-year, $5.4 million deal for the upcoming season, avoiding an arbitration hearing in the process. This new contract could overwrite that deal as he’ll be guaranteed for years and over $71.5 million in new money. Coincidentally, that aligns with the four-year, $73.5 million between Pablo López and the Minnesota Twins. López, similar to Keller, was between four and five years of big league service at the time of the agreement.

Third Long-Term Extension in Three Years

The deal will make Keller the third player to sign a long-term extension in three years for the Pirates. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds both receieved extensions in the past two offseasons. Hayes got eight-years, $70 million whereas Reynolds got eight-years, $106.5 million. The extension of Keller will finally put trade rumors to rest. That, and it’s also likely that manager Derek Shelton soon annoucnes the 27-year-old as the team’s Opening Day starter.

One thing is for sure, Keller has made it pubically clear that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh. After three rough years at the major league level from 2019-2021, Keller was demoted to the bullpen. From there, he adopted a sinker and worked his way back to the rotation.

“I would love to be here,” Keller told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week. “This is all I’ve known, all I’ve been through. I wanna win here, man, I really do. I really think we have something special.”

Keller Should Set the Tone

Keller will be the guy to set the tone for the Pirates against a Miami club that broke through and snuck into the postseason. It’s something Shelton’s group thinks it can do this year. So far in spring training, Keller is looking like he’s in midseason form. Hopefully, that gives him every chance to increase his workload this year.

Main Photo: © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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