Bryan Reynolds trade rumors have lingered over the offseason, even as there’s been nothing to indicate the Pirates have gotten seriously into discussions with any other club. As an All-Star player on a rebuilding team, Reynolds has drawn plenty of trade attention over the last couple years. The Bucs have steadfastly maintained a high asking price.
Against the backdrop of speculation has been the seeming stalemate between Reynolds and the Pirates in extension negotiations. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported over the weekend the club had offered $80MM over six years. With Reynolds eligible for arbitration through 2025, such a deal would’ve bought out three free agent seasons. According to Mackey, Reynolds’ camp had countered at $134MM over eight seasons. With discussions having stalled out, the 28-year-old requested a trade in December.
The Pirates attested that wouldn’t affect their asking price. That has seemingly borne out in the lack of substantive trade rumors over the nearly three months since then. Reynolds is back in Pirates camp. Both sides have expressed a willingness to reopen talks about an extension that could keep him in the Steel City for the long haul, though as of Saturday, the team hadn’t made a new offer.
The trade market has been dormant for the majority of the offseason. It’s entirely possible no swaps of significant note are made before Opening Day, although there are surely still plenty of teams that’d love to install Reynolds in their lineup. Teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox look likely to roll the dice on unproven options in center field. The Yankees, Braves and Rangers all have a handful of veterans for left field but explored more stable solutions at times this offseason.
Meanwhile, the Bucs and Reynolds’ camp at CAA Sports figure to touch base at some point over the coming weeks to see if they can bridge that reported $54MM gap. The deeper Reynolds gets into his arbitration seasons, the likelier it’d seem to become he prices himself out of the Pirates’ range. Perhaps they’re at that point already — even the organization’s $80MM offer would’ve represented a franchise record investment and was well shy of the asking price — but it seems each side is still amenable to negotiating despite Reynolds’ prior trade request.
Opening Day is a little over a month away. Spring Training is the most common time of year for teams and players to hammer out extensions. That’s often the result of a player setting an Opening Day deadline for those discussions, but Reynolds indicated over the weekend he had no such cutoff.
Will there be a resolution in the coming weeks, or will the uncertainty regarding the Bucs’ star carry into the regular season? Are the Pirates going to make a move with Reynolds before Opening Day: either by pulling off the long-speculated blockbuster or keeping him on a franchise-record contract?
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