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BREAKING: Mitch Keller Agrees to Five-Year Extension With Pirates

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Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a five-year extension with starting pitcher Mitch Keller, according to Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN. The deal is worth $77 million, which sets a new franchise record for average annual value at $15.4 million per season.

Keller, who turns 28 in April, is the club’s top starting pitcher and was named a National League All-Star for the first time in 2023.

Last season, Keller went 13-9 with a 4.21 ERA across a career-high 32 starts. The right-hander set the franchise record for strikeouts in a season by a right-handed pitcher with 210.

Keller was long-considered one of the Pirates’ top prospects, but he didn’t find immediate success at the big-league level.. Through his first three seasons, he went 7-17 with a 6.02 ERA in 39 starts. After starting off the 2022 season slowly, Keller was briefly shifted to the bullpen in the middle of May. After he was reinserted into the starting rotation, Keller began a career emergence.

From May 31 through the end of the season, Keller pitched to a healthy 3.22 ERA in his final 22 starts. He ended the year with a career-best 3.91 ERA in 31 appearances/29 starts.

Keller sits atop the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation for 2024. He is the anchor of a rotation that is largely still a question mark. Behind Keller are offseason acquisitions Martín Pérez and Marco Gonzales. The final two spots are still up for grabs.

Prior to agreeing to a contract extension, Keller was set to hit free agency at the end of the 2025 season. He had agreed to a salary just south of $5.5 million in arbitration earlier in the winter.

Keller is the third core player the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed to a long-term deal in the last three seasons. Shortly after the 2022 season started, the Pirates signed Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year deal. Last year, the Pirates extended Bryan Reynolds, who also received eight years.

Keller’s deal is pending a physical.

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