Ke’Bryan Hayes is expected to return to action on Saturday.
And when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ star third baseman does return from his left foreman spasm that knocked him out of the opener, Hayes will have a big bag with him.
The MLBbro reportedly has reached an agreement for a long-term contract extension that’ll be the richest in the organizations’ history, according to Robert Murray of Fansided. The contract extension is for eight years and will pay Hayes’ $70 million with the Pirates having the club option for Hayes’ ninth-year. Hayes can remain with the Pirates through the 2030 season.
Today was surreal for the Hayes family! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾💯💯💯
Congratulations @KeBryanHayes you deserve everything that you’ve accomplished. Keep climbing up the ladder, if they mad make ‘em madder!
— Charles Hayes™️ (@Charles_HayesJr) April 8, 2022
Hayes spoke to the media about Opening Day and what the contract meant to him, “I’m just thankful for this opportunity, for them believing in me for a long-term deal,” said Hayes before the Pirates took on the St. Louis Cardinals. “I’m very committed, as I’m sure they’re committed for this partnership. I’m excited to get back to work this year….It shows how much they believe in me. With the little time that I have in the big leagues, it’s a huge confidence boost, showing they want me to be a guy who’s here for a long time and helps lead the way. It’s very humbling.”
This new deal surpasses the Pirates’ previous largest deal ever with Jason Kendall’s six-year, $60-million guaranteed deal contract back in 2000.
Hayes, 25, struck out in the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cards and then sustained an injury in the bottom of the inning.
It was called a cramp or spasm around his left wrist going up into his forearm. The Pirates and Hayes are pleased to hear that it wasn’t anything too serious as he’s listed day-to-day on the injury report, and should be good to go for the second game of this series against the Cardinals on Saturday.
Can’t wait to see @KeBryanHayes make the All-Star team this season as one of the premier third baseman in the game. Reports say @Pirates are trying to sign the 25-year-old web master and line drive blaster to a long-term extension 👏🏾#MLBbro #getthebag #Blackknights pic.twitter.com/z9va7XcRdZ
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) April 4, 2022
“I knew it wasn’t an injury….I knew it was a cramp,” said Hayes, son of former MLB third baseman Charlie Hayes. “I was trying my best. There were like two or three pitches I didn’t even have my glove on. I was trying my best to get that thing to loosen back up. I just didn’t have the time to do it.”
Hayes, who played in only 96 games in the MLB’s 2021 season due to a lingering left wrist injury, scored 49 runs and had 38 RBI in that time. In his 2020 campaign, Hayes was on fire in 24 games, Hayes hit .376 with a 1.124 OPS and instantly thrust himself into the National League Rookie of the Year conversation.
In the offseason, Hayes tried to change up his batting mechanics, specifically his follow-through swing to help not aggregate the same injury again. That’s why when he sustained the scare during the opening game, it made his teammates worrisome.
“We were all holding our breath a little bit,” Pirates’ shortstop Cole Tucker told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Very up-and-down day for him. We were just kind of confused. Glad to know that it sounds like it’s nothing major.”
There’s our third baseman. pic.twitter.com/LaaBOD2tzg
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 13, 2022
The Pirates finally paid the MLBbro what he rightfully deserved and locked up Hayes for the long-term, giving him the keys to leading the franchise going forward. He’s their future no doubt about it. The organization has had its share of Black talented players who’ve played for them, including Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, and last but least, the great Barry Bonds.
It was said that Parker was the first “Richest Man in Team Sports” as the Pirates gave him a $1 million per year contract that actually never came to fruition as the franchise pushed back payments over years as he played there after its World Series win in 1979 over the Baltimore Orioles. Stargell, the 1979 World Series MVP, played his entire career with the Pirates. But players didn’t make the kind of money they make now.
Bonds won the NL MVP Award in 1990, but was frustrated with the organization as he was one of the lowest-paid players in the majors during this time. Ultimately, he left for San Francisco.
The Pirates didn’t make the same mistake this time around with our MLBbro. Hayes deserved to get paid and will endure some tough times as the team goes through the rebuild phase. But there’s one thing for certain, he can AFFORD mostly anything through these times.