Pirates finalize deal with Draft pick Hayes

Pirates finalize deal with Draft pick Hayes

PITTSBURGH -- Ke'Bryan Hayes had committed to attend the University of Tennessee, and his mother hoped he would honor that. Gelinda Hayes wanted her son to go to school.

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Charlie Hayes, who played 14 years in the Majors, knew his son had the potential to go pro out of high school. He didn't say it out loud, but he hoped Ke'Bryan would choose that path, whether he was drafted in the first round or the 30th.

"It was just a matter of keeping him working hard and convincing her," Charlie Hayes said.

Hayes took care of both, beginning a series of events that led to Tuesday's news conference at PNC Park, where the Pirates announced the signing of Hayes, their compensatory first-round pick in last week's MLB Draft.

Hayes will begin his professional career in Bradenton, Fla., as the club assigned him to play for the Gulf Coast League Pirates.

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The Pirates did not disclose financial terms of the deal, but MLB.com's Jim Callis reported on Tuesday that Hayes agreed to a $1.855 million signing bonus, the exact slot value assigned to the 32nd pick, which the Bucs received as compensation for losing free agent catcher Russell Martin.

Hayes was the Draft's No. 44 overall prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. The 18-year-old third baseman was picked out of Concordia Lutheran (Texas) High School and wasted little time signing with the Bucs.

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"Ever since I was a little kid, it's always been my dream," Hayes said. "Having my dad play 14 years just makes me more hungry to even have a better career than him."

Toward the beginning of Hayes' senior season, his mother accepted the reality that Hayes might bypass college and go pro. She asked Charlie Hayes what their son had to do to prepare himself for professional baseball.

"I said he works hard, but he needs to work with a purpose and he needs to focus," Charlie Hayes recalled. "The discipline part, on and off the field, I'm not worried about that -- because you're a great mother."

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About a month later, having watched the way Hayes went about his business as a senior, Gelinda Hayes came to the realization: "My baby's going away."

"The work ethic is what put him over the top," Charlie Hayes said. "We're all just, as a family, just blessed to have a kid that has got to where he's at."

And the Pirates believe they're fortunate to have added Hayes to their organization.

"He's got an advanced feel for the game, both offensively and defensively, on the bases," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "You can tell that he worked a lot. You can tell that he played a lot. And you can tell that he had some great teaching and great coaching along the way."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.