Asking price on Bryan Reynolds Trade remains sky high

Even after Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade from the Pirates, the team has given no indication of plans to buy him. General manager Ben Cherington called Reynolds’ request “disappointing”, but immediately added that the request could have “no impact” on the team’s approach to his All-Star center fielder. That appears to be the case, as while several clubs have made inquiries of Reynolds in the days since his trade, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that the asking price is still sky-high – so much so that executives with three other clubs cast strong doubt. about the likelihood of him actually being moved, according to the report.

High asking prices are nothing new for the Pirates when it comes to Reynolds, though many onlookers may have wondered if Reynolds’ request for a trade would lubricate the wheels for a trade that finally comes to fruition. It only takes one team to find the right prospect and/or make an unexpectedly strong offer, so situations like this can change quickly if circumstances dictate.

As it stands, however, Bucs seems to be sticking with the sky-high asking prices they’ve set on Reynolds in the past. The Seattle Times reported last year that Pittsburgh’s asking price for Reynolds when the Mariners asked at the 2021 trade deadline started with the then-prospect Julie Rodriguez. The Miami Herald indicated last spring that Pittsburgh had asked the Marlins for the 2021 first round Kahlil Watson2020 first round Max Meijer and additional pieces. Both Watson and Meyer were consensus top-75 prospects in all of baseball at the time.

The calculus has inherently changed at least somewhat since those reported asking prices, if only because Reynolds has moved closer to free agency. That being said, he is in charge of Pirates for three more seasons and will earn $6.75 million in 2023 before getting a pair of arbitrage raises in 2024 and 2025. 461 (125 wRC+) with a career-high 27 home runs. Reynolds’ speed stats are slightly down from his brilliant 2021 season, although that’s at least partly due to a slow start in 2022; he ended the year quite strong.

In all likelihood, Reynolds will continue to serve as one of the most speculated and at the same time least accessible names in the trading market. It’s old hat for the 27-year-old by now, as he’s been the center of trading activity for most of his big league career. That’s the life of a young star on a rebuilding Pirates team, as both Reynolds and teammate David Bednar can testify. While Reynolds has at least tried to work his own way out of the perpetual deluge of trade rumble, Bednar has done no such thing. As Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, Bednar was not outwardly clamoring for a long-term deal when asked if he would sign an extension, but strongly suggested he hopes to stay:

“I think you know how I feel about Pittsburgh. I like this place more than anything. But that’s the business part of it. I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about all-season outs.”

It’s only natural that Bednar’s reaction would be one of affection for the city of Pittsburgh. After all, he was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in the area, attending nearby Mars Area High School before going to college in Easton – closer to Philadelphia. His family still lives in the Pittsburgh area.

Obtained from the trade Padres who sent Joe Musgrove to San Diego, Bednar has quickly emerged as one of the National League’s top relievers, posting a combined 2.40 ERA (2.57 FIP, 2.73 SIERA) with a massive 32.7% pass percentage against a strong 7.8% walk percentage in 112 1/3 innings with the Pirates. Moving into the closing role in 2022, he saved a career-best 19 games and has averaged just under 150mph on his heater since being acquired by his hometown club. He comes with even more team control than Reynolds as he will not become a free agent until the 2026-2027 off-season. Teams have understandably been asking a lot of questions, but the Pirates have (understandably) put a high asking price on Bednar, as they did on Reynolds.

While fans of the other 29 baseball teams may be focused on who the Pirates might trade whether it’s the offseason or next summer, Pittsburgh fans are more focused on how the Bucs can continue to add pieces this winter. The Pirates have already signed Carlos Santana, Vince Velasquez and Jarlin Garcia to one-year contracts as they look to improve their roster for 2023, and they will definitely need to include a catcher (or several catchers) in that equation.

The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel recently suggested that the Pirates plan to not only add a new starting catcher, but also a backup in the coming weeks. Top prospect Endy Rodriguez is the only catcher on the 40-man roster right now, and as good as the 22-year-old switch-hitter may be, he played above A-ball in all 37 games.

In 2022, the Pirates leaned on a combination of Jason Delay, Robert Perez, Tyler Heinemann, Andrew Knapp and Michael Perez behind the plate, creating a revolving door effect that the team will likely want to avoid in the future. Part of that was due to a hamstring injury in May for Perez, which required surgery and ended the two-time Gold Glove winner’s season much earlier than expected. There has been some mutual interest in the Bucs re-signing Perez, but Pittsburgh has also reportedly expressed interest in the former division rival Tucker Barnhart.

There are tons of options available in free agency, in addition to a few high-profile names in the trading market (eg Sean Murphy, Danny Jansen). However, with Rodriguez and 2021 No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis moving up through the system, the Pirates are likely content with adding some stopgap fixes while a few potential catches of the future continue to develop in the upper minors.

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