Bryan Reynolds Reportedly Wants out of Pittsburgh. Now What?

Almost five years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded franchise icon Andrew McCutchen to San Francisco. That deal worked well for Pittsburgh, as the Pirates were able to land a replacement in Bryan Reynolds. The former Vanderbilt star has been one of the game’s most valuable center fielders since his debut, but it now appears that Reynolds and the Pirates are headed towards a schism. Bryan Reynolds reportedly wants a trade out of Pittsburgh, so let’s look at where the Pirates can go from here.

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A Look at Bryan Reynolds

In Reynolds’ first season in the Majors, the former Giant prospect batted .314, hitting 16 home runs and posted a 130 OPS+ for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, but crashed in his second season. During the shortened 2020 campaign, Reynolds mustered a .189 and .632 OPS across 55 games.

2021 was a breakout year for Reynolds, as the former Vanderbilt product mashed 24 home runs and recorded a gaudy .302/.390/.522/ slash line. The Pirate followed that monstrous season with another solid year in 2022, as Reynolds crushed a career-high 27 home runs over 145 games. Reynolds remained an above-average hitter in terms of exit velocity (90.2 MPH average) and OPS+ (126) this past season, but his batting average and on-base figures both went down.

What it Means for the Pirates and Potential Suitors

For the Pirates, it does make some sense for Pittsburgh to be patient at the present moment, given Reynolds’ service time. Reynolds have three years left before becoming a free agent, so there’s not a real sense of urgency at this juncture to move the talented outfielder.

On the other hand, that three years of control could be a major asset in any trade proposal. Should a team feel the need to pursue Reynolds, that controllability could be key towards getting a major haul for the Pirates outfielder. A number of teams — like the Blue Jays or Braves — have the rosters in place to be competitive for at least the next three seasons. Thus, it does behoove Pittsburgh to at least listen for now.

Sure, the Pirates could wait for the likes of Henry Davis, Nick Gonzales, and Quinn Priester to join Reynolds and Oneil Cruz in Pittsburgh, before deciding on whether to sell its most valuable trading asset. However, the Pirates won’t be a playoff competitor this season, nor are the Pirates likely to be one until at least Reynolds’ final year of control in 2025. That sticking point needs to be factored into the equation.

Pittsburgh can jolt its rebuild by acquiring multiple prospects and/or current Major Leagues through a Reynolds trade, and there will be plenty of suitors. A number of playoffs teams from 2022, like Toronto, Atlanta, and both the Mets and Yankees, would be among the likeliest suitors. Each team could use some help in the outfield, and Reynolds — who placed in the sixth percentile in Outs Above Average per Baseball Savant last season — could likely benefit to a move to a corner outfielder in the near future.

Pittsburgh can’t afford to mess up a trade of its valuable asset at the moment. While it would of been interesting to see what Reynolds could have done with the team’s talented group of prospects and young players, this team still needs more assets to complete the rebuild in full. It stings, but moving on from Reynolds at some point over the next year is ultimately the right thing to do. If the Pirates can get the deal right, it can turn around Pittsburgh’s fortunes a bit faster that expected.

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