There have been some rumors surrounding Bryan Reynolds, but he is as untouchable as you can get in trades based on the price the Pittsburgh Pirates have put on him
There have recently been some rumors swirling around teams looking into Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. It makes sense some teams have kicked the tires on Reynolds. The Pirates are still rebuilding, even if they’re nearing the end of the rebuild. But while Reynolds isn’t 100% untouchable, he might as well be because he is way too expensive for a team to even consider trading for him.
Reynolds had a phenomenal 2021 season. Through 649 plate appearances, the switch-hitter posted a fantastic .302/.390/.522 line, smacked 24 home runs while having a .385 wOBA, and 142 wRC+. He also only struck out 18.4% of the time while having a healthy 11.6% walk rate. Reynolds ranked 10th in wRC+, OPS, and wOBA. Overall, he was a top 10 hitter in baseball.
Not only was he a high-quality hitter, but he was a very usable centerfielder. While he had -5 DRS and -5.6 UZR/150, outs above average were very high on Reynolds. The metric ranked him as the 18th best defender in baseball with +11 OAA. Reynolds had a 5.5 fWAR, which also ranked 10th among position players. It was also the first time a Pirate put up an fWAR of at last 5 since Andrew McCutchen, the player he was traded for, in 2015. Catcher Francisco Cervelli also had a 5.9 fWAR in 2015.
But Reynolds should not be a trade piece. He should be a player to build around. He’s not a free agent until 2025. While he may not be 100% untouchable, his price should be well out of any team’s price range, or worth more than what a team is willing to give up. You don’t give up a top 10 hitter in the league with more than 3 years of control remaining when you are going to see massive improvement throughout the next 1-2 seasons.
So far, the teams that have been connected include the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Yankees. The Miami Marlins and Houston Astros also check in on Reynolds’s availability earlier in the regular season, right around the deadline.
The Yankees and especially the Astros and Phils do not have the pieces to acquire Reynolds. Any trade that involves Reynolds needs to include at least 1 can’t-miss prospect as well as at least, possibly even two. The Yankees would come the closest, but they would have to give up both Jasson Dominguez and Anthony Volpe. The Astros and Phillies simply don’t have anything close.
The Marlins and Mariners both would have the pieces, but the chances that they would give them up are low at most. If the Mariners check in on Reynolds, the Pittsburgh Pirates would have to get back at least two of Julio Rodriguez, Emmerson Hancock, or Nolvie Marte in any trade involving Reynolds, and that would only be the headliners. They would have to also get back at least 1-2 solid organizational prospects along with Rodriguez/Hancock/Marte.
Back when the Malins checked-in on Reynolds at the trade deadline, the Pirates asked about the Marlins’ top 3 prospects. According to FanGraphs, that’s Max Meyer, Sixto Sanchez, and Edward Cabrera. Among those, Cabrera is the lowest-ranked, at #40. MLB Pipeline’s top 3 Marlins Prospects are 2021 draft pick Kahlil Watson, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer. Meyer is the lowest-ranked at #30.
It also wouldn’t make sense for either the Marlins or Mariners to trade for Reynolds whose stragety is to build from within and deplete their farmsystem on one player. The Marlins especially since they are a small-market team who have to build from within. The Mariners may not be small market (especially when you compare them to the Marlins), but they’ve consistently put their cores together using players from within. While the Yanks would benefit from a contact-first hitting kind of outfielder, they’re not a team to move a bunch of high-end prospects. The last time I can think of the Yankees trading away a consensus top 50 or higher prospect was when they traded Jesus Montero back in 2011-2012. The Astros and Phillies just don’t have the pieces. They don’t have a consensus top 50 prospect, let alone multiple. The Astros may even enter a retool kind of year with Correa, Greinke, and Verlander hitting free agency.
The fact he is in near untouchable territory is supported by what Jon Heyman has recently stated:
Teams almost never trade what is considered can’t-miss prospects, let alone multiple. The last trade I can think of that included multiple can’t miss prospects was when the Chicago White Sox sent Chris Sale, a consistent top 5 finisher in Cy Young voting prior to the trade, to the Boston Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, both of whom ranked as top 15 prospects by MLB Pipeline going into 2017.
To put it simply any trade involving Reynolds would start by making the Chris Archer trade look like a square deal and only go up from there. I wouldn’t be worried at all about Reynolds being moved. No team is going to give up the amount of prospect capital the Pirates and Ben Cherington want. Teams very rarely give up one can’t-miss kinds of prospects, let alone 2 or more. The Pittsburgh Pirates have put a price on Reynolds so high, that no team would, or should meet it.