While Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade, the Pittsburgh Pirates dealing him for a package that doesn’t include an already proven MLB player would be a set-back.
Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds has asked to be traded from the Bucs. While the Pirate stance on Reynolds hasn’t changed much if, at all from before, trading Reynolds would be a pretty decent setback in the rebuild.
Reynolds is coming off a down year, but only by his standards. Among center fielders with at least 100 games played up the middle, Reynolds ranked fourth in wRC+ at 125, wOBA at .349, and third in OPS at .807. Reynolds’ defense did take a massive step back from last year, but there’s no doubt he’s still a top-ten outfielder in the game.
A Reynolds trade that doesn’t involve at least one proven MLB player sets the rebuild back for multiple reasons. At this point, the Bucs should be looking to at least be semi-competitive. That’s not to say it’s time to gun for a deep playoff run, but you look at what is coming up through the minor league system and the other major building blocks on the big league roster, and there’s a semblance of a decent Major League team.
If the Pirates keep Reynolds, they could end the 2023 season with Oneil Cruz, Endy Rodriguez, Nick Gonzales, and Henry Davis protecting the all-star outfielder. Not to mention Rodolfo Castro, Ji-Hwan Bae, and a potential breakout from Ke’Bryan Hayes would add even more depth to the line-up. The pitching side isn’t terrible either, with Roansy Contreras and Mitch Keller in the major leagues, youngsters like Johan Oviedo and Luis Ortiz debuting for the Bucs, and top prospects like Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows and Kyle Nicolas coming up through the system.
The current Pirate front office also haven’t traded a player within the same stratosphere of Reynolds’ caliber, either. The closest is Joe Musgrove, but given Musgrove is a starting pitcher, the kind of value brought to the table was very different. Position player-wise, Starling Marte would come close, given he was a very good hitting center fielder, even if his glove didn’t match his offensive value. But Marte was also three years older with only one year of guaranteed control remaining (second option year).
At this point in the rebuild, the Pittsburgh Pirates should be looking at what is on the major league roster, what’s coming up in the pipeline, and preparing to at least be semi-competitive in the coming season.
A lineup with Reynolds, Cruz, Jack Suwinski, Rodriguez, Gonzales, Bae, Castro, Carlos Santana, and Ji-Man Choi isn’t a World-beating lineup, but it at least sets them up for a semi-decent 2023. There’s absoutley a possiblity that they could have a league average or better hitter at every position in 2023. Trading Reynolds takes whatever momentum you build up this offseason.
A Reynolds trade at this point must include a proven major league player. Not having that key building block means the Pittsburgh Pirates waste a year of Cruz, Suwinski, Bae, Contreras, and Keller.
This is the best opportunity the Pittsburgh Pirates have had in a while to start building something and starting that by trading Reynolds for a package of prospects that doesn’t include a major league player is counter-productive.