The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Ian Snell on a five-year contract, the first three guaranteed with club options for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The announcement was made by Neal Huntington, the Pirates Senior Vice President and General Manager.
Snell led the club in ERA (3.76), strikeouts (177) and innings pitched (208.0) during the 2007 campaign while making a team-high 32 starts in his second full season in the major leagues. He also averaged 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2007, which ranked 10th among all National League pitchers.
"We are pleased to have reached agreement on a contract with Ian Snell that gives us the ability to keep him in a Pirates uniform at least through the 2012 season. Ian's performance over the past two seasons ranks him among the best young starting pitchers in the game and he will play a crucial role in our success," said Huntington. "This is another example of the organization's commitment to build a championship caliber club. Retaining talented young players developed in our system will help us achieve our goal of brining championships back to Pittsburgh," said Huntington.
During the 2006 campaign, Ian led the club with 14 victories and strikeouts (169) in his first full season in the big leagues. His 14 wins that season were the most by a Pirates pitcher since Todd Ritchie won 15 games during the 1999 campaign.
The 26-year-old pitcher was selected by the Pirates in the 26th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. He was Pittsburgh's Minor League Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2003 and a three-time All-Star during his six years in the minors.
Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Snell ranks sixth among all National League pitchers in strikeouts (346) behind Jake Peavy (455), Aaron Harang (434), John Smoltz (408), Carlos Zambrano (387) and Brandon Webb (372). Also in that time, he has posted a 19-12 record and 2.73 ERA (289.2ip/88er) in 43 starts when he pitches at least 6.0 innings in a game and has gone 16-4 with a 2.05 ERA (193.0ip/44er) in 27 starts when he works at least 7.0 innings in a game.
During the 2007 season, Snell began a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh where he hosted children at the ballpark. The children met with Snell on the field during batting practice and were given tickets to the game as his special guests. Snell will continue that program during the 2008 season, as well as record Public Service Announcements on behalf of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to air during Pirates radio and television broadcasts.
In addition to his increasing involvement with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Snell has agreed to make a sizable annual donation to Pirates Charities as part of his agreement with the ballclub. Established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2006, Pirates Charities is the club's official philanthropic arm and is committed to strengthening the community through its concentration on the core areas of youth health, fitness and education.