Switch-hitting Pittsburgh Pirates star Bryan Reynolds has seemingly been on the trade market (and the Yankees’ radar) for a year and a half, as his franchise has dissolved around him. The urgency on a potential deal was ratcheted up on Saturday, however, when word leaked that Reynolds had requested a trade away from Pittsburgh, something that usually only works in the NBA.
This seems to be an atypical MLB trade request at first blush, though, with Ken Rosenthal calling the relationship “broken” and recommending both sides find the best trade fit and move on. No backtracking from here.
The Pirates wouldn’t be trading Reynolds at his absolute peak — that would’ve been after the 2021 season, when he posted 6.1 fWAR and still had four years of control attached to his pre-arb contract. In 2022, he upped his power output (27 homers vs 24), but his average dropped 40 points from .302 to .262 and his WAR plummeted to 2.9.
Perhaps he was disengaged in Pittsburgh? Or perhaps these are just the typical waves of a career spent with very little lineup protection around him? Reynolds will still be under control for three more years, so whichever team coughs up big-time prospects will have to pay a very similar price to last offseason, while hoping the player didn’t regress year over year.
Early Winter Meetings rumors peg the Yankees as the most aggressive team, and the most likely to pay up.
Yankees interested in Bryan Reynolds trade with Pirates
The only remaining question: Do they want Reynolds as a Judge supplement, or a Judge replacement?
He’s a great ball player. He’d look fantastic in the Andrew Benintendi spot. He’s not Aaron Judge.
A projected Reynolds trade has to include one of any team’s top three prospects. The Pirates have lost some leverage, but they haven’t lost their minds. If the Yankees take the plunge, they’ll need to surrender either Jasson Dominguez or Oswald Peraza — and possibly both, if they refuse to include Anthony Volpe.
The Red Sox, who could use a cost-controlled center field solution? Nothing short of Marcelo Mayer or Brayan Bello.
The Braves, who are apparently hot on the chase? Kyle Muller or Vaughn Grissom.
The Rockies, who seem to be interested? You laugh, but Zac Veen makes a pretty appealing headliner, and Colorado could also include slick-fielding MLBer Brendan Rodgers.
And wouldn’t the Pirates be looking to punish Reynolds, to some extent? Sending him to exile in Colorado could do just that.
On Saturday, it would’ve felt silly to predict that this meteor of a trade would be resolved by the end of the Winter Meetings.
After Rosenthal’s hints at how wide the chasm between player and team has grown, though? Expect the Yankees (and maybe the Giants, who once had Reynolds in their farm) to strike quickly if they need a Judge backup plan.