You can add the Braves and Brewers to the list of teams who asked the Pirates about Bryan Reynolds prior to the trade deadline, as The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel hears from a source that Pittsburgh received “big-time offers” from the two clubs. Atlanta and Milwaukee join the Marlins, Indians, and Astros as teams known to have at least checked in on Reynolds’ availability, though it sounds as if the Braves and Brewers went a step further with their overtures.
Of course, Reynolds wasn’t dealt anywhere, as the Pirates value the outfielder as a cornerstone of their future plans. Biertempfel’s report comes within the context of a larger piece about which current Pittsburgh players are most likely to be on the roster come Opening Day, and Reynolds is seen as someone who is “not going anywhere.” Reynolds’ price tag will start rising this offseason in his first of four (as a Super Two player) arbitration-eligible years, the Bucs have him controlled through the 2025 season, and the team is surely hoping to be back in contention while Reynolds is still producing at a high level.
After a big 2019 rookie season and a sophomore slump in 2020, Reynolds has enjoyed a strong season as the Pirates’ everyday center fielder. The 26-year-old has hit .293/.382/.505 with 24 home runs over 628 plate appearances, resulting in a 136 wRC+ and 139 OPS+. While Reynolds’ hard-hit numbers are nothing special, his speed has allowed him to turn even moderate contact into base hits. As a center fielder, Reynolds’ glovework is either elite (+10 Outs Above Average, one of the higher totals of any player at any position) or slightly below average (-3.2 UZR/150, -2 Defensive Runs Saved) depending on your metric of choice, though the eye test would certainly seem to lean closer to OAA’s analysis.
There’s plenty to like about Reynolds as a contributor both now and in future seasons, which is why it was no surprise that so many teams were inquiring about trades. The Braves and Brewers stand out as particularly intriguing, considering that Milwaukee has already won the NL Central and Atlanta has a 2.5-game lead in the NL East with six games remaining, so the specter of a Reynolds trade will loom as an interesting “what-if” should either team fall short in October.
Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is no stranger to big deadline moves, and while a Reynolds trade would’ve counted as a blockbuster, Atlanta was hardly lacking in activity. With Ronald Acuna Jr. gone for the season, Anthopoulos reinvented his outfield by adding Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall. That quartet has all hit well, helping carry the Braves from a 52-55 mark on August 1 to the brink of a division title. It is worth wondering if Atlanta’s inquiries about Reynolds led to the notable trade that the Braves did make with the Pirates, landing Richard Rodriguez for Bryse Wilson and Ricky DeVito.
The Brewers had a relatively quieter July than the Braves in terms of sheer volume of moves, though the Brew Crew had the benefit of a much wider division lead, and the team certainly picked up some solid offensive contributors in Eduardo Escobar and Rowdy Tellez. Installing Reynolds in center field ahead of the Lorenzo Cain/Jackie Bradley Jr./Tyrone Taylor combination would’ve certainly been a huge upgrade for Milwaukee’s lineup, and perhaps solidified the Brewers as World Series favorites.
If the Pirates had been moved to deal Reynolds, it would’ve surely taken an enormous trade package from any team, and it is quite possible Pittsburgh might’ve demanded a premium to send Reynolds within the NL Central. While the Pirates and Brewers combined on a pair of minor trades earlier this season, swapping minor league depth pieces is a far different matter than sending a star player to a division rival.