The clock is ticking on Bryan Reynolds and the Pittsburgh Pirates to negotiate a long-term contract.
An apparent Opening Day deadline leaves Wednesday free for negotiations as the Pirates travel to Cincinnati to begin the 2023 season on Thursday.
Under club control through the 2025 season, Reynolds requested a trade in December after previous negotiations reached a standstill. Multiple outlets confirmed the Pirates offered a deal in the range of six years at $76 million, far apart from Reynolds’ asking price.
Hope was lost for many that Reynolds would be around for the start of the regular season, let alone the trade deadline or years beyond with extension talks gaining no traction. A trade at some point in the near future seemed evident, until the final week of Spring Training.
Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman have provided recent updates that create newfound optimism a deal could be agreed upon, but it all comes down to how talks progress Wednesday.
Heyman first reported Friday the Pirates were trying to sign the 28-year-old and added further clarity Tuesday, saying the Pirates are continuing to try and sign him before first pitch.
Appearing on 93.7 The Fan, Mackey rated the chance of Reynolds signing as 55 percent, just higher than a 50/50 likelihood. In an earlier interview on the station the same day, he heard from some people there’s optimism a deal will be reached Wednesday, while others are more pessimistic and believe it won’t.
BRYAN REYNOLDS IS THAT GUY!!! pic.twitter.com/QSrH9SRTSd— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 24, 2022
Now playing in the same outfield as the man he was acquired for, Reynolds is the main anchor in a group featuring Jack Suwinski and Andrew McCutchen. The switch hitter owns a career .281/.361/.481 slash line in four full seasons spanning 493 career games. The 2021 All-Star starter hit over .300 that season (.302) and also his rookie year in 2019 (.314). Reynolds hit a career-high 27 home runs in 2022 and stole a career-best seven bases. He totaled 19 doubles, 62 RBI, and a .806 OPS while striking out 141 times.
He slots in the 91st percentile by Baseball Savant in max exit velocity, 73rd in average exit velocity and 66th in hard-hit percentage.
Pittsburgh’s best and most productive offensive player, Reynolds owns 74 homers and 239 RBI but has experienced two 100-loss seasons and never sniffed a .500 campaign let alone the postseason. A 2021 Gold Glove finalist in center, the Pirates have played Reynolds in left a strong portion of the spring, opting for Suwinski to roam the largest portion of the field.
He committed two errors and registered a .993 fielding percentage in center last year but seems destined to play significantly more left, where he first debuted with the Bucs. His arm strength (80th) and sprint speed (75th) gauge well against fellow big leaguers, but grades poorly in outfielder jump to balls (24th).
Time is running out for the Pirates to sign their star, a leader on and off the field for a young core of players continuing to reach PNC Park. By 4:10 p.m. Thursday, Reynolds’ fate may be sealed. If the Pirates want to agree to their largest contract in team history one year after signing Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year, $70 million deal, a deal with Reynolds would prove the organization has truly turned a corner and is willing to dump significant financial obligations into the team on the field in addition to enhancements to the ballpark.
Will the Pirates agree to a long-term deal with Bryan Reynolds?
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