The Tigers announced a six-year contract extension with the possibility of an infield Colt Keith. The deal guarantees Keith $28.6425 million and could reach a cap hit of $82 million over nine years if three club options (covering the 2030, 2031 and 2032 seasons) are escalated and exercised. Keith is represented by English Munger Sports Management.
In addition to the $2 million signing bonus, Keith will receive $2.5 million in salary for the 2024 campaign, $3.5 million in 2025, $4 million per season in 2026 and 27, and $5 million per season in 2028 and 2929. Each club option includes an ascending salary scale, but the values currently break down as follows – the 2030 club option is worth $10 million with a $2.6425 million buyout, the 2031 option is worth $13 million ($1 million buyout), and the 2032 option is worth $15 million ($2 million purchase).
Keith, 22, was selected in the fifth round by the Tigers in the 2020 draft and has since risen quickly through the minor leagues with a .300/.382/.512 slash line across all levels, including .306/.380/ .552 slash line in 126 games split between Double- and Triple-A last season. The youngster has emerged as one of the top 30 prospects in the game, with MLB.com He ranked it in 22nd place while Baseball America He placed him at No. 28. Both President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris and Keith himself commented on the extension in a press release following the announcement.
“This is a very exciting day for the Detroit Tigers, the Colts, his family and our fans,” Harris said at the news conference. “This contract demonstrates our belief in Colt and this organization’s commitment to acquiring, developing and retaining young talent.”
“I could not be more excited to reach this agreement and secure my place in this organization for years to come,” Keith added. “There's a reason I feel so strongly about the long-term commitment to be here, and being surrounded by incredibly talented teammates and coaches is a big part of that… I know this is a huge accomplishment, but ultimately my mission is to be the best.” The best player possible and helps win a World Series for Tigers fans everywhere.
Now 22-year-old Keith has a big windfall after signing for just a $500,000 draft bonus. Along with financial security, Keith also has certainty that he will remain a part of the Tigers' long-term plans as they look to build on their surprise second-place finish in the AL Central last year. For Detroit, the extension gives the club some certainty regarding Keith's arbitration years as well as three additional seasons of team control. If all three options are exercised, Keith will remain in a Tigers uniform until his age-30 season.
It is the fourth-largest trade in league history for a prospect who has yet to make his MLB debut. Keith's extension only tracks guarantees made to White Sox players Louis Robert Jr (50 mm) and Eloy Jimenez ($43 million) in addition to a record $82 million deal agreed upon by an outside prospect Jackson Chorio and the Brewers earlier this winter.
Keith was already expected to join the big league roster as the Tigers' everyday second baseman at some point this year, but today's deal ensures he will be in the lineup on Opening Day if healthy. The deal eliminates the Tigers' opportunity to secure an additional year of team control over the player, but Detroit is still eligible for an additional draft pick for a potential promotion incentive. This option will be awarded if Keith earns a full year of service time in 2024 and either wins the AL Rookie of the Year award or places in the top three in MVP voting before he is arbitration-eligible.
With Keith likely to be the cornerstone of the Tigers entering the season, the likes of Zach McKinstry, Nick Matton, Andy IbanezAnd Matt Ferling They will compete for playing time at third base when camp opens for spring training next month. While the third primary keys will be handed over to another potential customer in Jess Jung At some point in the future, the 23-year-old has yet to make an appearance at the Triple-A level and seems unlikely to break away from the Tigers camp. Keith and Jung are the latest in a line of top prospects to reach the major leagues in Detroit in recent years, including rookie pitchers.Tariq Skubal And Casey MizAnd determine the locations of players Spencer Torkelson And Riley green.
As their prospects begin to reach the major leagues and establish themselves at the big league level, the Tigers look to augment the roster with short-term veteran additions that will not prevent younger players from earning regular playing time. This season, Detroit struck early to land an outfielder Mark Kanha in a trade with the Brewers before bolstering their rotation by signing the free agent right-hander Kenta Maeda And Jack Flaherty. The club also added reinforcements to their playing field in the form of Andrew Chaffin And Shelby Miller. These veteran additions bolster the club's burgeoning young core as they prepare to make a run in what's expected to be a relatively weak division in the AL Central, though the Twins figure to remain favorites on paper even after allowing both Maeda and ace righty Sonny Gray To leave via free agency this winter.
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