Last year, right before the trade deadline, the Marlins knocked on the Pirates’ door to ask about Bryan Reynolds’ availability. They were rejected as Pittsburgh wants to rebuild around Reynolds, who’s under team control until 2025. But Miami didn’t give up—according to the Miami Herald, they resumed talks with the Bucs before the MLB lockout, trying to convince them to structure a trade.
However, Reynolds won’t come cheap. The Marlins are just one of many teams with reported interest in him, a group that includes the Yankees, the Astros, and the World Series champion Braves. Acquiring the All-Star center fielder with so much time to go before free agency would require a tempting package and one that the Pirates prefer more than the offers made by other suitors.
The Marlins have a farm system loaded with promising arms and position players to help the Pirates fill the potential Reynolds void. For what it’s worth, these teams just collaborated on a four-player trade before the lockout—Jacob Stallings for Kyle Nicolas, Zach Thompson and Connor Scott—which shows that their front offices have a functional working relationship.
Of course, Reynolds comes with a higher price tag than Stallings. The 27-year-old switch-hitter is entering his prime coming off a 35-double, 24-homer, and 90-RBI season. He put up a 6.0 WAR, a league-leading eight triples, 169 hits, and a .912 OPS, thanks to a .390 OBP and a .522 slugging percentage. Marlins fans will recall what it was like shopping Christian Yelich four years ago. Well, Reynolds is even better.
A key ingredient to any Reynolds trade package would be minor league pitching, perhaps even multiple top arms. I pray that the Marlins don’t trade Max Meyer, but they can go with righty Edward Cabrera, lefty Jake Eder, or the enigmatic Sixto Sánchez, who didn’t pitch in 2021 due to injury.
JJ Bleday restored his prospect stock with a great performance in the Arizona Fall League. This might be Miami’s chance to sell high by including him in a blockbuster deal.
Unless the Pirates are content with continuing to lose for years to come, they may also ask for a pitcher with MLB experience. The Marlins will consider Sandy Alcántara and Trevor Rogers to be off limits, leaving Pablo López as a potential fit. López has been consistent through the past two seasons, except for a shoulder injury that kept him off the mound for a big chunk of the 2021 campaign. But when Pablo’s healthy, he can be a premium pitcher. He’s under control for three more seasons and projected for lower salaries than Reynolds during that period.
A NEW MLB RECORD!— MLB (@MLB) July 11, 2021
Pablo López strikes out the first 9 batters to start the game! pic.twitter.com/sY6BZlMkIx
I get it. You may not like seeing these names discussed as trade chips, but I insist, if the Marlins seriously want to acquire Reynolds, they have to be prepared to make uncomfortable sacrifices.
Once the MLB transaction freeze is lifted, the offseason promises to get interesting for the Marlins once again. They already acquired Stallings, Joey Wendle and Avisaíl García, but they might not be done yet, especially with Reynolds in their sights. There are so many exciting opportunities out there for the Fish to finish upgrading for 2022!