2:11 pm: hey dude tweet the Pirates had offered Reynolds an extension that would have made him the highest paid pirate in history based on total dollar amount, beating the $70 million extension awarded to teammate Ke’Bryan Hayes. Of course, Hayes got his extension with less than two years of service, while Reynolds has almost four years, so an extension would never come close to Hayes’ mark.
12:09 PM: Pirate outfielder Bryan Reynolds has requested an exchange, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. From Jon Heyman of the New York Post, overtime talks between Reynolds and the Pirates had reached a “deadlock”, prompting Reynolds to request the trade, though the Pirates still have no intention of sharing the All-Star. The Bucs have since released a statement regarding the trade request:
“While disappointing, it will not affect our decision making this off-season or in the future. Our goal is to improve the Pirates for 2023 and beyond. With three years left until his release, Bryan remains an important member of our team. We look forward to a great season for the Pirates.”
Reynolds has long been a sought-after trade candidate in the game, as a controllable player performing at an elite level for a team undergoing a lengthy rebuild. Pittsburgh has rejected trade interests, preferring instead to keep Reynolds around as they try to return to the fray while he is under club control. Reynolds will earn $6.75 million this season in the second year of a $13 million two-year extension. He will then be under the control of the club via arbitration for another two seasons before being eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.
The 27-year-old experienced a slight dip in offensive production in 2022, but still put up a very strong season, batting .262/.345/.461 with 27 home runs for 2.9 bWAR. It was the most home runs he had produced in his four seasons in the major leagues, but it also came with an increase in strikeouts.
A second-round pick from the Giants in 2016, Reynolds went to the Pirates in 2018 Andrew McCutchen agreement. A season later, he made his MLB debut, hitting .314/.377/.503 with 16 home runs in 134 games. In another season, that might have been just enough to earn a Rookie of the Year award, but the presence of Peter Alonso, Mike Soroka and Fernando Tatis Jr. meant that he finished fourth in the National League.
He experienced quite a sophomore slump, hitting just .189/.275/.357 in 55 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but bounced back with his best season yet in 2021. That year, Reynolds hit .302/.390 /.522 with 24 home runs, earned his first All-Star nod and finished 11th in the NL MVP voting. He also posted a career-best strikeout (18.4%) and walk (11.6%) that year.
On the defensive side, Reynolds has spent most of his time in left or midfield. He spent most of 2021-2022 at center and totaled 2,196 2/3 innings to mixed reviews. With Outs Above Average, he was worth ten in ’21 but -7 in ’22, while Defensive Runs Saved put him at -5 in ’21 and -14 this season. Nevertheless, he scores better on the left, where he totaled 7 DRS in 931 2/3 innings between 2019-20.
While offensive production is down in 2022, the overall package of work combined with the remaining years of club control means there will be no shortage of suitors. MLBTR eyed Reynolds a week ago as a trade candidate (a title he’s apparently held for nearly three years). 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 previously expressed interest.
From the Pirates’ point of view, it’s not particularly surprising to hear them say they plan to have him back in 2023. They are unlikely to further weaken their bargaining position by publicly stating that they are trading him. Their asking price has always been sky-high (The Seattle Times reported that their asking price at the ’21 started of Julie Rodriguez), and they will certainly be looking for a large group 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 remain outside his club control, but the Bucs’ rebuilding is starting to show signs of life and it’s not inconceivable that they’ll be able to compete in NL Central by 2024. -25. Whether they trade him or not, the news has certainly added another layer of intrigue as agents and front office personnel head to San Diego for the start of the Winter Meetings tomorrow.