It’s Time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to Pay Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates for Andrew McCutchen in an off-season trade prior to the 2018 season. In Pittsburgh, the move was viewed as a questionable one that continued to kick the can down the road. As the 2023 season is soon to kick into full gear, Reynolds and McCutchen don Pirates jerseys. It’s funny how things happen sometimes. The two are on different career trajectories, however.

McCutchen is a former National League MVP that is on the back nine of his career looking for a chance to be a part of a rebirth in Pittsburgh. Reynolds is the team’s best player and is due a contract in the near future if the Pirates wish to keep his services.

Bryan Reynolds Still Open To An Extension

Reports in recent weeks have stated that there is a sizable gap in the negotiations. Reynolds is looking for well north of $100 million while the Pirates have offered well short of that number. When a team this devoid of stars has one in its grasp and is choosing to jerk him around in contract negotiations, that is a problem. Reynolds does not deserve that.

For far too long, Pirates owner Bob Nutting has been viewed across the league as the type of owner more concerned about running a business than a sports team. He says the right things but never seems to follow up on them.

Furthermore, he’s stated on multiple occasions how he wants to re-sign the outfielder but has yet to come forth with a serious offer. Nutting continues to find bargain bin free agents and promises a young crop of talent that never seems to materialize its way to Pittsburgh. It’s been a constant cycle of nothing for far too long now.

Reynolds has been relatively healthy in his Pirates career. Thanks to his healthy presence, he has been very productive in that time on the field. The 28-year-old is a career .281/.361/.481 hitter with 74 home runs across four seasons. One of those seasons was the shortened COVID season. He’s got legitimate 20-home run pop and can play all three outfield positions although he’s better suited for the corners.

There is not much the All-Star can’t do.

Reynolds’ impact on the Pirates

Reynolds has found a home in the top third of the Pirates’ lineup. They’ve spent most of his tenure in the Steel City playing for teams without much talent. Recently, players like Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes have graduated to the big leagues so he’s starting to get at least some lineup protection. There is more help on the way if the crop of young talent actually comes to fruition.

He has garnered plenty of trade interest from teams like the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. No group of players the Pirates would acquire would likely help this current version of the team and would kick the can down the road further. Losing a bat like that via trade, or even worse, for nothing in free agency, would be an absolute travesty. He can be a cornerstone player for a contending team if the Pirates really view themselves as heading in that direction.

The two biggest contracts in team history have gone to Hayes and Jason Kendall. Hayes signed his deal on Opening Day last season receiving an eight-year, $76 million deal. Kendall’s deal, signed in 2000, was six years for $60 million. This is a big-league franchise by the way.

Why not set the precedent with a talented player like Reynolds?

The Pirates were lucky to sign guys like McCutchen and Starling Marte to team-friendly deals earlier in their careers. Reynolds isn’t going to give the same discount. He wants to be paid his worth and has every right to ask for that money. Signing him would even make other higher-end free agents more inclined to play in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh can not afford to let Bryan Reynolds get away. It would be malpractice at the highest level.

Main photo credits:

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Players mentioned:

Bryan Reynolds, Andrew McCutchen, Oneil Cruz, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jason Kendall, Starling Marte