If the Pittsburgh Pirates do grant Bryan Reynolds his wish and trade him this American League West club could be a good fit, while also having the capital to get the trade done
Even though the Pittsburgh Pirates have not changed their stance and continue to insist they have no intentions of trading away star center field Bryan Reynolds, with Reynolds having requested a trade it is difficult to see a scenario where he is not dealt. Especially since Reynolds has also rejected a long-term contract extension from the Pirates this offseason.
There was reason to believe Reynolds would be moved during last week’s winter meetings. This, of course, did not happen. Despite this, trade talks between the Pittsburgh Pirates and other clubs about Reynolds are unlikely to slow down any time soon.
One team that has not been discussed much in Reynolds rumors, but would appear to be a good fit for the switch-hitting outfielder, is the Texas Rangers. For a second consultive offseason the Rangers have been aggressive in free agency in an effort to turn their roster around. They still could use outfield help and another bat for their lineup, they also have the young players at their disposal that could pry Reynolds away from Pittsburgh.
Again, although the odds now appear to be much higher than they were when the regular season ended, it’s no guarantee the Pittsburgh Pirates trade Reynolds this offseason. If Reynolds is traded he will net a big haul for the Pirates. Landing a switch-hitting center fielder with a lifetime 126 wRC+ and 127 OPS+ who comes with three years of team control will not be done cheaply.
As we mentioned above, the Rangers have the farm system and young players at their disposal that could pry Reynolds away from the Pirates. Ben Cherington would likely want a deal headline by starting pitching and an outfielder to replace Reynolds, and this is something that Texas could offer.
First and foremost in this trade, the Pirates would receive a near immediate replacement for Reynolds in outfielder Evan Carter. The 20-year-old Carter hit for a .295/.397/.489 slash line with a 140 wRC+, .194 isolated slugging (ISO), 13.5% walk rate, and just a 17.1% strikeout rate in 475 plate appearances across the High-A and Double-A levels last season. Carter is ranked as the best prospect in the Ranger organization by Baseball American and sits at no. 3 according to MLB Pipeline. While Carter would start the 2023 season in the minors with either Altoona or Indianapolis, he could be ready to join the Pirate outfield by the end of the season.
The biggest haul here for the Pirates would be the pitching. Owen White checks in as the no. 4 prospect in the Texas system according to MLB Pipeline and no. 5 according to Baseball America. The right-hander posted a 3.59 ERA, 3.29 FIP, just a 7.0% walk rate, and a healthy 31.7% strikeout rate in 80.1 innings pitched last season. These 80.1 innings came in 15 games (14 starts) for High-A and Double-A.
The 23-year-old White has battled some injuries in the past, which is a big reason he has yet to pitch above the Double-A level. That said, the staff and results have been there. White, like Carter, would start the season in the minors, but White would likely be shoe-in to join Quinn Priester and Mike Burrows in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis, where, if he continued to pitch well, he would set himself up to join the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation some time this summer.
Cole Winn was selected 15th overall by the Rangers in the 2018 MLB Draft. Winn spent the entirety of the 2022 season at Triple-A, struggling to the tun of a 6.51 ERA, 5.49 FIP, 15.2% walk rate, and a 21.5% strikeout rate. He did limit home runs though, allowing a home rune rate of just 0.98 HR/9.
Winn’s biggest issue was his control. Possessing a curveball with a future value (FV) of 60, and three 55 FV pitches in his fastball, changeup, and slider, the stuff is certainly still there for Winn. It’s a matter of harnessing his control. There would be an argument to be made that Winn would have the highest ceiling of anyone in this trade.
Glenn Otto would likely go directly into the team’s starting rotation, slotting behind Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, and Johan Oviedo. Otto made 27 starts for the Rangers last season, posting a 4.61 ERA in 135.2 innings pitched. However, his home and road splits were drastic. Otto posted a 5.37 ERA, 1.8% walk rate, 16.7% strikeout rate, and a 5.60 FIP. On the road, Otto posted a 4.06 ERA, 9.6% walk rate, and a 20.4% strikeout rate. Getting away from Choctaw Stadium would likely do Otto some good.
Moves made by Texas this offseason would also contribute to them likely being on board with this trade. Adding Andrew Heaney and Jacob deGrom in free agency makes it easier for them to trade away starting pitchers who have either already cracked the majors or are close. This would make it more likely they would be willing to move White, Otto, and Winn.
At this point no one knows where Reynolds will be come Opening Day. It remains to be seen if he’s still with the Pirates or if he ends up elsewhere. If he is traded the Rangers certainly appear to be a team where the fit is there in more ways than one for a deal to get done with Carter and White being the center pieces and prized jewels of the trade for the Pirates, giving them a pair of top 100 prospects in return for Reynolds.