The keys to the castle are in the hands of the Pirates’ new keymaster.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes have agreed to an eight-year, $70 million contract extension with a club option for a ninth year of club control. FanSided insider Robert Murray first reported the deal and was shortly confirmed by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer Jason Mackey.
The deal breaks Pittsburgh’s previous franchise record for the largest amount of money ever allocated to a player, breaking Jason Kendell’s six-year, $60 million mark dating back to 2000.
Murray also reports the contract is the largest guarantee ever signed for a player with at least one and less than two years of service time. Hayes can remain a Pirate through the 2030 season.
Hayes’ $70 million guarantee is the largest contract in Pirates history and the largest guarantee ever signed by a player with at least 1 and less than 2 years of service time. Hayes is represented by Scott Lonergan of The Ballengee Group.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) April 7, 2022
Hayes, 25, was drafted by the Pirates No. 32 overall in the 2015 draft. He made his MLB debut during the latter half of the 60-game 2020 campaign, hitting .376 with five home runs and 11 RBI in 24 games and earning sixth place in Rookie of the Year voting.
In 120 career games, Hayes has compiled a .280/.340/.432 slash line including 11 homers and 49 RBI in 447 at-bats.
Known for his spectacular defense at the hot corner, Hayes compiled a 2.4 overall WAR in 2021 and .988 fielding percentage. The deal entices the continued opportunity to challenge the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado for future Gold Glove Awards.
Here’s the $70 million man talking about his new contract: pic.twitter.com/Nd66Wrkryz— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) April 7, 2022
The former Pirate top prospect now sticks around on a team-friendly deal as an important piece of the puzzle to the Pirates' next contender.
Opening Day is already a day to rejoice and celebrate the return of baseball, but also the satisfaction that Ke’Bryan Hayes will be manning the hot corner on warm summers nights for almost a decade to come.