Pittsburgh Pirates: Three potential offseason moves to watch for

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jared Oliva #76 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Bryan Reynolds #10 and Gregory Polanco #25 after defeating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 at PNC Park on September 24, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jared Oliva #76 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Bryan Reynolds #10 and Gregory Polanco #25 after defeating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 at PNC Park on September 24, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have quite the rookie in Ke’Bryan Hayes.

The most promising storyline for the Pittsburgh Pirates this year was the emergence of rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. After a small yet very exciting first taste of the major leagues, extending Hayes and making the 23-year-old rookie a cornerstone to rebuild around should be high on the list of offseason priorities.

Pittsburgh discussed an extension with Hayes before the sports world shut down back March, but a global pandemic can certainly throw a wrench into your plans.

Dedicating large sums of money to a rookie who has the tools and skillset to be a high-quality major leaguer for many years to come doesn’t sound like a very Pittsburgh Pirates thing to do, but it needs to be done now.

In 24 games, Hayes slashed .376/.442/.682 with five home runs, seven doubles, two triples, and a 195 wRC+. He may have played in only one-third of Pittsburgh’s games, yet he led the team with a 1.7 fWAR, well ahead of Jacob Stallings who was worth 1.1 fWAR.

Hayes won’t put up these types of numbers across a full 162 game season and a .450 BABIP means a good bit of luck went into his 2020 numbers, but he hit the ball with authority (55% hard-hit rate) and showed solid patience at the plate for a rookie. There’s also the Gold Glove worthy defense that will make him one of the top defensive third baseman in all of baseball for many years.

Locking in Hayes now and using him to build the team around is a must this offseason.