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Pirates and Bryan Reynolds far apart in contract talks amid trade rumors

The Bucs and Reynolds are around $50 million apart.

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

News and notes surrounding outfielder Bryan Reynolds are heating up to begin 2023. The Pittsburgh Pirates star requested a trade on Dec. 3, 2022, following a breakdown in extension talks.

A 2021 All-Star and Gold Glove Finalist, Reynolds and the Pirates are reportedly $50 million apart in extension discussions, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Trade speculation has hovered around Reynolds since his demand to be moved, with teams including the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners as two of the possible suitors.

MLB Network insider and New York Post writer Jon Heyman talked to one team exec describing the Pirates' request as “unrealistic asks” and nothing happening now. There is hope from clubs that things may change during the spring.

The Pirates maintain three years of club control on the switch-hitting Reynolds, who signed a two-year, $13.5 million contract prior to 2022. His 2023 season falls under the contract while being arbitration-eligible for the final two seasons.

Heyman reported the Pirates’ offer was for six years and over $75 million, not including any team options in the proposal. The Reynolds camp targeted a deal similar to the one given to Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves - eight years at $168 million - but shot lower than that.

The Braves, notorious for signing highly-talented young players to team-friendly deals, traded for Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy and quickly signed him to a six-year, $73 million deal, plus a club option. While the totality of money allotted is similar, Heyman says the Reynolds camp views the deal too low for the former Vanderbilt-products value.

Reynolds, 27, accumulated a 2.9 WAR in 2022 by slashing .262/.345/.461 in 145 games. He registered 19 doubles, four triples, 60 runs batted in and a career-high 27 home runs. Reynolds regressed in three of the four categories that defined his All-Star campaign, playing all but three games, which included an MLB-leading eight triples.

Playing on back-to-back 100-loss teams, Reynolds initially expressed his interest in staying with the Pirates during the season, while changing his tune in 2022’s final month. Receiving a deal higher than the eight-year, $70 million, plus a club option, for Ke’Bryan Hayes is a no-brainer for the Pirates’ best player. The Pirates have to do much better than that to convince Reynolds to stay and command financial security similarly paid by rival teams.

Pittsburgh and Reynolds may be at a point of no return regarding a long-term contract or even being a member of the 2023 Opening Day roster. Acquired in the 2018 Andrew McCutchen deal, Reynolds likely will become the next Pirates center fielder sent to a larger-market club willing to pay the price.

It’s not like Reynolds will command a deal similar to the very best outfielders, but an agreement short of the Olson deal makes plausible sense. The Winter Meetings sparked the beginning of talks for Reynolds that will continue until his Black and Gold jersey is no longer hanging in his PNC Park locker.

The Talk the Plank Podcast discussed Reynolds’ fate entering 2023.