Reynolds’ request comes during an “impasse” in contract extension talks between he and the Pirates, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. In his upcoming age-28 season, Reynolds is set to earn $6.75 million (same as his 2022 salary). He has two more years of arbitration eligibility ahead in 2024 and 2025.
In 2021, Reynolds emerged as one of the best all-around center fielders in baseball (141 wRC+, 6.1 fWAR in 159 G). He struggled to replicate that production early last season, but from June onward, he got back on track offensively (139 wRC+). The Pirates suffered 100-plus losses in both years.
There was a drop-off in Reynolds’ defensive value from year to year. By both outs above average and defensive runs saved, he rated as a significant liability in the outfield in 2022.
A Pirates spokesman told Mackey that Reynolds’ request “will have zero impact on our decision-making this off-season or in the future,” but we can see right through that. That’s what you have to say just to appease Pittsburgh’s season ticket-holders. Reynolds communicating his desires so bluntly creates a distraction, and if another team were to make a proposal to the Pirates considered to be fair value for him, they would be more likely to accept it than they have been previously. From earlier today, Fish Stripes’ own Kevin Barral suggested a deal bringing Reynolds and Pirates closer David Bednar to Miami for a package of four players.
The Marlins have been in on-and-off trade talks with Pittsburgh regarding Reynolds since July 2021, per Craig Mish of SportsGrid. As currently constructed, Bryan De La Cruz would open the 2023 season as Miami’s primary center fielder. Heyman lists the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Rays as more potential fits, while MLB Network’s Jon Morosi adds the Blue Jays.
The question is, does Reynolds expect to receive a long-term, market-value extension from his next employer? The Marlins’ recent track record of spending isn’t much better than the Pirates’. Worth mentioning, Reynolds is represented by CAA, the same agency as extended ace Sandy Alcantara. However, these circumstances actually remind me more of J.T. Realmuto—another CAA client—who requested a trade from the Fish four years ago when they were reluctant to pay him what he’s worth.
Reynolds’ status figures to be one of the main storylines enveloping the annual MLB Winter Meetings, which get underway in San Diego on Sunday.