Potential candidates to be the next Pirate player extended

After extending Mitch Keller, who will the Pittsburgh Pirate to sign a long term contract next?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Closer David Bednar, Others

Closing pitcher David Bednar would be awesome to keep around long-term. Since arriving in Pittsburgh via the Joe Musgrove trade, Bednar owns a 2.25 ERA, 2.56 FIP, and 1.06 WHIP. He has an outstanding 31.2% strikeout rate, along with a 7.7% walk rate and 0.60 HR/9. His +4.9 fWAR is the fifth highest of any reliever, while his +6.0 bWAR is 4th highest. On top of that, he might be willing to give the Pirates a hometown discount to stay in Pittsburgh.

I think the Pirates should join the trend of extending one of their prospects before they’re no longer a prospect. I would love to see the Pirates get a deal done with Jared Jones and especially Paul Skenes before 2024 Opening Day.

The Pirates will likely keep both down until they gain the extra year of control, which will likely be sometime in late May or early June. But extending one or both now would let them start in the Major Leagues and would solve the Pirate rotation issues. They could do the same with Bubba Chandler or Thomas Harrington for similar reasons next year.

The Pirates could also extend one of their young players whose value is currently down. This includes catchers Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez, as well as currently injured right-handed starting pitcher Johan Oviedo.

Davis’ first extended look in the big leagues was rough as he had a sub-.700 OPS and faced some injuries. Both Rodriguez and Oviedo underwent Tommy John surgery this off-season. I believe all these guys will be significantly more productive in the future, so extending them now for a lower cost would be smart.

But that works as a double-edged sword. While the Pirates would probably love to secure one or all of these players to a relatively cheap and team friendly deal now, Davis, Rodriguez, and Oviedo do not have much to lose by seeing if they can rebound over the next few seasons.

With the current Pirate trend, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect at least one extension before Opening Day 2025. The Pirates have now done this three seasons in a row and still have a handful of more players they could ink to deals to keep them around for a few years beyond their free agency. I also think it would be smart for a club that runs a budget like the Pirates to extend a young talent before they're no longer a prospect as well.

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