Snell agrees to deal with Pirates worth at least $8 million

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ian Snell and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed Sunday to three-year contract worth at least $8 million, a deal reached five days after the Pirates had unilaterally renewed the pitcher for 2008.

Snell would have been eligible for salary arbitration after next season. The agreement includes team options for 2011 and 2012.

"I'm really happy about this because this is where I want to be, with the Pittsburgh Pirates," Snell said. "This is the organization that gave me a chance to play professional baseball and I want to be here and get this thing back to where it used to be. I want to be here when we start winning again."

Pittsburgh selected Snell in the 26th round of the 2000 amateur draft after he graduated from high school in Camden, Del. The 26-year-old right-hander went 9-12 last season with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts and has a 24-26 record in a major league career that began in 2004.

Snell led the Pirates with 208 innings last season, and general manager Neal Huntington decided Snell was worth the risk of a multiyear contract.

"Ian is a great competitor and a very durable pitcher," Huntington said. "He is in great shape and every single pitch he throws has a purpose behind it. He's the type of player we want here, the type of player we feel we can win with. It's a tribute to Ian that he has performed so well that we would want him for at least five more years and hopefully longer than that."