Pirates News - Spring Training Notebook: Mitch Keller's big day leads Thursday's headlines

While it was a generally quiet day, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a big splash on Thursday by signing top of the line starter Mitch Keller to a long-term extension.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Notes From Bradenton - Mitch Keller's big day

While there wasn't a ton of news to flow out of Bradenton on Thursday, there was a big piece of news. That news of course being that the Pirates will be extending their top starter Mitch Keller with a five-year deal worth $77 million. You can read more on Keller's extension, here, courtesy of Nicholas Caporoso.

That wasn't the only good news for Keller on Thursday as he also learned that he will be the Pirates opening day starter for the second year in a row. He will be just the third Pirate since the turn of the millennium to start back-to-back opening days. The other two Pirates to do so are Francisco Liriano from 2014 through 2016 and Oliver Perez in 2005 and 2006. Jerrod McGann has more on Keller getting the opening day nod, here.

The 27-year old Keller was 13-9 for the Pirates last season, the first year of his career in which he finished with a winning record while also earning his first career All-Star Game nod. On top of his winning record, Keller posted a 4.21 ERA across 32 starts and a career high 194.2 innings pitched while also recording a career best FIP of 3.80. The former second round pick is expected to be the Pirates No. 1 starter throughout the 2024 season.