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Pirates agree to terms with four arbitration-eligible players

Keller, Brubaker, Underwood Jr., Stephenson all under contract for 2023

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pirates concluded (for now) their Friday the 13th day in the spotlight by agreeing to terms with four arbitration-eligible players.

Included in the transactions were right-handed starters Mitch Keller ($2.4375 million) and JT Brubaker ($2.275 million). MLB Trade Rumors projected Keller to fetch $2.4 million and Brubaker $2 million in arbitration.

Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports reported the Brubaker deal earlier in the day as the righty entered his first season of arbitration eligibility.

The Bucs also avoided arbitration with right-handed relievers Robert Stephenson ($1.75 million) and Duane Underwood Jr. ($1.025 million). The salary totals rival MLB Trade Rumors’ October projections of $1.9 million and $1 million, respectively. Choi hit 11 home runs and drove in 52 for Tampa in 113 games.

Pittsburgh did not secure a deal with recently-acquired first baseman/designated hitter Ji-Man Choi. The Pirates traded for Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jack Hartman.

Keller, 26, posted his best season in a Black and Gold uniform last season, recording a 3.91 ERA overall and 1.80 ERA in five September starts. Brubaker, 29, sported a 4.39 ERA and a 3-12 win-loss record in a shaky, up-and-down season in 2022.

The 28-year-old Underwood Jr. bounced back and forth between solid and subpar performances in 51 games, He registered a 4.40 ERA overall including a 3.75 and 3.77 ERA in July and August before a 6.94 mark in 13 September games. Stephenson, 29, pitched 45 games for the Colorado Rockies last season before landing in Pittsburgh. The former Cincinnati Red totaled a 3.38 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.