The Tigers announced today that they have expanded their infield outlook keith foal with a six-year contract with club options for the 2030, 2031 and 2032 seasons. Each club option includes salary ladders. The deal guarantees Keith $28.6425 million and could reach a maximum of $82 million over nine years if all three options are extended and exercised. In addition to a $2 million signing bonus, Keith will earn $2.5 million in salary for the 2024 season, $3.5 million in 2025, $4 million per season in 2026 and 2027, and 5 million dollars per season in 2028 and 29. Before the escalators, the 2030 club option is valued at $10 million with a $2.6425 million buyout, while the 2031 option is valued at $13 million with a $1 buyout. million and the 2032 option is valued at $15 million with a $2 million buyout.
Keith, 22, was a fifth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2020 draft and has since quickly risen through the minor leagues with a .300/.382/.512 line at all levels, including a . 306/.380. /.552 in 126 games split between Double and Triple-A last season. The youngster has become a consensus top-30 prospect in the game, with MLB.com placing it in 22nd place while Baseball America ranked 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, Colt, his family and our fans,” Harris told reporters. “This contract demonstrates our faith in Colt and this organization’s commitment to acquiring, developing and retaining young talent.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to reach this agreement, securing my place in this organization for years to come,” Keith added. “There’s a reason I felt strongly about making a 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 player I can be and help win a World Series Championship for Tigers fans everywhere.”
For Keith, the deal secures the 22-year-old a significant windfall after he signed for just $500K out of the draft while giving him certainty that he will remain a part of Detroit’s long-term plans as they look to build on their surprising second-place finish in the American League Central last year. For the Tigers, the deal not only gives the club cost certainty regarding Keith’s arbitration years, but also offers the team three additional seasons of control over the infielder, potentially keeping him in a Tigers uniform. until his 30-year-old season if all three options are met. are exercised. It is the fourth-largest deal in MLB history for a prospect who has yet to make his major league debut, behind only the guarantees for the White Sox outfielder. Luis Roberto Jr. and Eloy Jimenez as well as the treatment agreed upon by the field prospect Jackson Chourio and the Brewers earlier this winter.
Keith was already expected to join the Major League roster as the Tigers’ regular second baseman at some point this year, but today’s deal all but guarantees he will be in the lineup on Opening Day if healthy. The deal takes away the Tigers’ opportunity to secure an additional year of team control over the infielder while also allowing the club to be eligible for a prospect promotion incentive draft pick should Keith win. a full year of service time in 2024 and wins the American League Rookie of the Year award or places in the top three in MVP voting before becoming arbitration-eligible.
With Keith likely to be the Tigers’ cornerstone entering the season, that leaves the likes of Zack McKinstry, Nick Bully, Andy Ibanezand Matt Vierling to compete for playing time at third base when camp opens for spring training next month. While the keys to the job will be handed to another top prospect in Jace Jung At some point in the future, the 23-year-old has yet to appear at the Triple-A level and appears unlikely to leave camp with the Tigers. Keith and Jung figure to be the latest in a line of top prospects to reach the majors for the Tigers in recent years, joining starters like Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize as well as the hitters Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene.
As their prospects begin to reach the majors and establish themselves at the major league level, the Tigers have sought to augment the major league club with short-term veteran additions that do not impede the club’s young players from gaining playing time. regular game. This offseason, the team struck early to land outfielder Marcos Canha in deal with Brewers before bolstering rotation with right-handed free agent deals Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty. The club has also added reinforcements to its bullpen in the form of andres chafin and Shelby Miller. Those veteran additions will strengthen the club’s burgeoning young core as they prepare for a run in what projects to be a relatively weak American League Central division, although the Twins will remain favorites on paper even after allowing both Maeda and the right ace sonny gray leave via free agency this winter.