The Pittsburgh Pirates are trying to lock up one of their young main players. The club has made a long-term extension offer to third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. This isn’t the first time Pittsburgh has tried to sign Hayes, though Heyman says they’re now making a more serious push.
last august, Hayes confirmed to The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel that the Pirates offered him long-term contracts before 2020 and 2021. Hayes made his debut in September 2020, so Pittsburgh tried to sign him before he even made his MLB debut. Here’s what Hayes told Biertempfel about possibly signing a multi-year extension with Pittsburgh:
“Oh, yeah, definitely,” said the third baseman prodigy, sending sighs of relief throughout western Pennsylvania.
“I want to stay and win a championship with the team that drafted me,” Hayes said. “But I’m not really…I mean, even last year when I was going through this (contract) I didn’t really think about it too much. I was grateful and humbled that they considered offering me (an extra time) before I even played a league game. It made me want to work even harder. But I’m not really worried at the moment. I’m just trying to get better every day.
The Pirates have a high-level farm system and, with top prospect Oneil Cruz having been sent to Triple-A, Hayes is the club’s best building block at the MLB level along with outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds, it should be noted, is already 27 years old. His peak years may not match the club’s next contention window. Hayes just turned 25 and has yet to reach what should be his prime.
With just over a year in service, Hayes won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2026 season. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon, but the sooner the Pirates sign him, the bigger the discount. The closer Hayes gets to free agency, the more influence he has and the more likely he is to assess himself from Pittsburgh’s future.
Here are some positional players who have signed long-term extensions while at the same level of service time as Hayes right now:
Albies’ contract is one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball and I’m sure the Pirates would be willing to sign Hayes to this deal, no questions asked. The deal with Yelich also proved favorable to the team. This was the case even before his huge breakout and MVP season. The Piscotty contract is a reminder that those early-career extensions don’t always work.
The biggest contract in Pirates history is the six-year, $60 million contract they gave wide receiver Jason Kendall in November 2000. Adjusted for inflation (Yelich signed his contract in March 2015) , a seven-year extension for Hayes is expected to secure him more than $60 million, making it the richest contract in Pirates history. It’s time for that record to fall, don’t you think?
Hayes, the son of longtime big leaguer Charlie Hayes, had wrist issues last season and is a .280/.340/.432 hitter with 27 doubles and 11 home runs () in 120 major league career games. He is also a top defensive third baseman with multiple Golden Gloves in his future. Hayes a player who deserves to be locked up long term.