2:11 p.m.: Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Pirates had offered Reynolds an extension that would have made him the highest-paid Pirate in dollar history, beating the $70 million extension secured by teammate Ke’Bryan Hayes. Of course, Hayes got his extension with less than two years on the job while Reynolds is almost four, so any extension was never going to come close to Hayes’ figure.
12:09 p.m.: pirate outfielder Bryan Reynolds requested an exchange, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Heman adds that extension talks between Reynolds and the Pirates had reached an “impasse”, prompting Reynolds to request the trade. He says the pirates still have no intention of trading him. The Bucs have since released a statement on the trade request:
“While this is disappointing, it will have no impact on our decision-making this off-season or in the future. Our aim is to improve the Pirates for 2023 and beyond. With three years to go Before entering free agency, Bryan remains a key member of our team and we hope he has a great season for the Pirates.
Reynolds has long been a sought-after trade candidate in the game. He’s a controllable young player playing at an elite level as the Pirates are in the depths of a long rebuild. Pittsburgh has spurned commercial interest, however, preferring instead to keep Reynolds as they seek to return to contention while he is under club control.
Reynolds is expected to earn $6.75 million this season in the second year of a two-year, $13 million arbitration extension. He will then be under the club’s control for two more seasons through arbitration before becoming eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.
The 27-year-old saw a slight drop in offensive production in 2022, but still had a very strong season, slashing .262/.345/.461 with 27 homers, worth 2.9 bWAR . It was the highest homer total he produced in his four big league seasons, but it also came with an increase in strikeouts.
Second-round pick by the Giants in 2016, Reynolds went to the Pirates in 2018 Andrew McCutchen OK. He made his debut a season later, cutting .314/.377/.503 with 16 home runs in 134 games. In another year, that might well have been enough to win the rookie of the year award, but the presence of Pete Alonso, Mike Soroka and Fernando Tatis Jr. means he finished fourth in the National League.
He had one hell of a sophomore slump, hitting just 0.189/0.275/0.357 in 55 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but bounced back with his best season yet in 2021. That year he hit .302/.390/.522 with 24 home runs, earning his first Nod for the All Star game and finishing 11th in NL MVP voting. He also posted career-best strikeout (18.4%) and walk (11.6%) rates that year.
On the defensive end, Reynolds spent most of his time in left or center field. He spent most of 2021-22 at center, recording a total of 2,196 2/3 innings to mixed reviews. Outs Above Average had him ten for 21 but -7 for 22, while Defensive Runs Saved had him at -5 for 21 and -14 this season. Nonetheless, he ranks better on the left, where he was worth a total of 7 DRS in 931 2/3 innings between 2019-20.
Although attacking production has dropped in 2022, the package of work combined with the remaining years of club control means there will be no shortage of suitors. MLBTR snuck a peek at Reynolds as a trade candidate (a title he’s apparently held for almost three years) just a week ago. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays are interested in Reynolds, while a number of teams, including the Mariners, Yankees and Marlins, have already had interests.
From the pirates’ perspective, it’s not particularly surprising to hear them say they plan to bring it back in 2023. They’re unlikely to further weaken their negotiating position by publicly declaring they’re trading it . Their asking price has always been very high (the Seattle Times reported that their asking price at the 21 started with Julio Rodriguez), and they will surely be looking for a big batch of young players again.
There has always been a bit of debate over whether the Pirates should trade Reynolds or not. As a notoriously low-spending club, they were unlikely to stay beyond his club’s control, but the Bucs’ rebuilding is starting to show signs of life and it’s not unthinkable that they will be able to to wrestle in NL Central by 2024. -25. Whether they trade it or not, the news has certainly added an extra layer as agents and front desk staff travel to San Diego for the start of winter meetings tomorrow.
Image: USA Today Sports.
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