Justin Verno – Before we really get going here, Joe, let’s start by stating a few things:
1) Joe and I did not start any trade rumors on Bryan Reynolds
2) Neither of us think Ben Cherington will actually move Bryan Reynolds, nor do we think he should
3) Lastly, (and we wrote about this at the trade deadline) we feel Bryan Reynolds should get an extension.
I wanted to start with that, Joe. Reynolds is a guy that we have included on this list because there are rumors by reliable sources that his name came up (apparently a lot) at the 2021 trade deadline and that the Pirates listened, even telling teams what they would need to trade Reynolds. On that alone we have to at least consider that a GM will go off the rails and actually ante up with a crazy package.
Joe Boyd – Let’s start by asking who could potentially need a 5.5 WAR .302/.390/.522 switch hitting outfielder. Well, that list is pretty long. Reynolds is cost controlled (4 ARB years remaining) and brings a ton of value to a team, so it would make sense that teams would call and try to get him in a fire sale. But for the exact reasons that Reynolds is attractive to other clubs are the reasons he is valued here in Pittsburgh.
We’ve seen a few articles posted recently that showed that there was, indeed, interest in Reynolds at the deadline. And I believe that Cherington handled those requests the correct way. Shutting the door immediately is bad business. But countering with a ludicrous offer that would be a fireable offense for the opposing GM is the correct play. In the case of Miami, Cherington requested their three top prospects, in Seattle he demanded one of the top prospects in baseball, Julio Rodriguez. These get reported as ‘serious’ talks about Reynolds, but the truth of the matter is that Cherington needs to be floored by a Godfather offer. He’s leaving the phones open and that’s the best practice when you have a player that is so sought after like Reynolds.
But you’re not here to be pandered to about keeping Reynolds, right? You know he’s staying. But that’s not why Gary & Craig invite us on to this platform, we’re here to discuss hypothetical scenarios that are within the realm of the possible. So let’s quickly get to Reynolds’ current value. It appears that Fangraphs have updated their ZiPS projections as Reynolds has gone from 2.5(ish) to 3.6 WAR projection for 2022. Accounting for age, we can estimate his projections for 2023-2025 to get a total WAR for the next 4 years around 11.6 WAR, or a total value of $104.2M. We can also estimate is ARB salaries to get $47.59M for total salary remaining. That gives us an estimated Surplus Value for Bryan Reynolds at $56.43M. If you’d like a range, say (2.5-5 WAR next year?) you can ballpark a value at $39.19M-$78.38M.
So now saying all that, should we get into some Godfather offers?
JV – Let’s get to it. If Cherington is to move Reynolds, I think he needs two things:
1) A jaw dropping offer
2) At least one player close to the majors
The Bucs first wave is to hit this year with a second, hopefully coming in 2023, so Ben Cherington needs to keep his eye on that schedule. This is yet another reason that hints to not trading Reynolds (but as Joe points out, that is not why we are here). Using the list of teams that reportedly called BC to ask about Reynolds, we get a good list of teams to choose from to make a trade package.
- among others
It’s worth noting that the Brewers, Braves and Mariners are all reported to have made “big time offers” for Reynolds. I’m going to pick a team from the list that we know made offers for Reynolds. Strike the Brewers off the list, as there are too many reasons why this won’t happen. Reynolds has too much control to move to a rival. Add in the Brewers would have to really overpay to add him, and this just won’t jive. The team that makes the most sense to me?
Destination – Seattle Mariners
If Jerry DiPoto, Seattle GM, decides to go all in on Reynolds, he has the pieces to do it. If Cherington gets an offer too good to pass up, moving him to an American League team would make it easier to swallow. And a deal too good to pass up needs to be an overpay for Cherington. I’m shooting for the stars here, Joe.
The package –
Seattle gets Bryan Reynolds (78 million surplus)
Julio Rodrigeuz – OF – ETA:2022 – 60 FV($55M)
One of the premier prospects in baseball. After making an adjustment at the plate a few years back, he’s really taken off. The hit tool looks better than the current 35, and I’d say it’s better then the FV of 40 right now. He has power, his raw power sits at an FV of 70. He’s a complete player, scoring at an FV for speed and fielding of 50. It’s easy to see why Seattle wouldn’t give him up at the deadline, but this is what Cherington would need as the main piece for Reynolds.
Emerson Hancock – SP – ETA:2023 – 50 FV(21M)
Leading up to the 2020 MLB draft, this is the guy I really wanted to be there for the Bucs so if Cherington can nab him here I’d be thrilled. He hit AA last year, so I can see him ready in late 22 if all goes well. Emerson has a 4 pitch mix and can max out at 97 MPH, giving his fastball an FV of 55. His changeup and slider both grade out at an FV of 60, with a curveball that sits at a 50 FV. He’s got the frame to be a power pitcher and front of the rotation stuff.
Zach DeLoach – CF – ETA:2024 – 40 FV($4M)
Pirates take a chance on a power hitting CF. When DeLoach makes contact he hits’ em hard, with an FV of 50 for both game and raw power. The trouble is the 30 hit toll but if he grows into that 50 FV for his tool, then you’ve got something.
The odd thing with this package, Joe? I can see Cherington wanting more. The ironic thing with it is the Mariners would likely say no. This is the overpay Cherington would need to even consider moving Reynolds.
JB – That’s my favorite thing about this exercise. It’s so difficult to get a package that would be of adequate value. There just aren’t enough 60+ FV prospects in baseball. If you’re trading Reynolds, a premier/bonafide star outfielder, and you get back Rodriguez, who is awesome, you’re still getting a wildcard versus a known commodity. That’s why you have to add a top pitching prospect + to get Cherington to a yes, and now you’d imagine DiPoto would get cold feet. To make a deal for a player JUST entering his prime is a fool’s errand, enter your fool.
Destination – San Francisco Giants
Talk about a hilarious turn of events, eh? I do not imagine that Giants fans clamor over the Cutch for Reynolds/Crick trade like the Pirates faithful do with regards to the Archer deal. But imagine the thought of sending back the top piece for additional riches? Man, that’d be a fun thought experiment. It’s difficult to find prospects even worth a discussion with Reynolds, but one of the few clubs that have the pieces are, in fact, the Giants. Perhaps San Francisco sees their window opening a bit sooner than they had imagined, and they can go and get a piece like Reynolds that would quietly lead their team? Hey, I’m not saying it’s going to happen or even likely. I’m just saying that it could maybe/sorta make sense.
Marco Luciano (60FV / $55M) – When looking for a centerpiece to a Reynolds deal you need to seek out a prospect that is just different. Reynolds has been fantastic for Pittsburgh, so you need to see if you can get a player that would be MVP caliber. Luciano may be that guy. Longenhagen, on Fangraphs, writes, “When Marco Luciano connects, you feel it to your core. He is not normal…If he continues to perform, especially if he hits his way to the upper levels, then this time next year we’ll be talking about Marco Luciano as one of the best prospects in baseball, and if he does so while improving his infield defense, perhaps the best.”
Hunter Bishop (45 +FV / $8M) – Bishop is a bit of a unicorn. He’s built like a linebacker, but plays centerfield like a running back. He’s from the bay area, so a deal to get him would need to be special. He’s got the power bat that could be a solid middle of the order guy, but has the athleticism that JUST gives you enough potential to be a superstar in the game. It’s a small chance, but if you have Luciano in the deal, that’s a nice amplifier.
Will Bednar (40+ FV / $3M) – Back to Longenhagen, “Will is a strong-bodied righty who has been up to 96 and has some feel for a loopy, shapely curveball and a harder slider.” Bednar has a better chance to stick as a starter than his brother, but man it’d be fun to have two Western PA players on the Bucs. The Bednars would be the baseball version of the Watts!
Jairo Pomares (40+ FV / $2M) – Pomares has always been a target for me. He provides a bat that has a high power and OBP potential. Another high variance player that has shown a bat that could be promising. He’d be an additional lottery ticket with serious upside.
I would be hard pressed if I am San Francisco to accept this deal, and to be honest, I may balk if I’m Cherington, as well. This deal provides an otherworldly talent in Marciano and additional prospect depth that makes a ton of sense, but still you’re dealing with four coin flips for a surefire star under control.
JB – So we have discussed our first, very unlikely, trade candidate and we’ve shown what a package would have to be to move a player like Reynolds. Some may compare this situation to the Frazier deal and I can emphatically say it is completely different. The drop off from 1.5 years of control to 1 is major from a value perspective. So the Frazier deal made sense to happen when it did. Reynolds, on the other hand, has time. The demand is there for a player of his caliber, and the supply is low (especially at the salary price point) so Cherington can simply sit back and ask an exorbitant price. If Seattle or San Francisco were to provide this package, perhaps Cherington would have to seriously consider the offer. But the two deals we have suggested are not obviously yeses. Perhaps the Giants throw in Bart or Seattle puts another top prospect on the table that makes it a no brainer, but there will be no settling for Cherington here. It’s either godfather deal or no deal at all. And, as we have said in the past, we see an extension and an olive branch to the fanbase to be much more likely in the case of Bryan Reynolds.
JV – Every rebuild has a seesaw tipping point to it. We all know that point when you’re on your way up and the seesaw is perpendicular to the ground, then your friend swings their leg to slow it down? That’s where we are in the rebuild. Trading Reynolds is your friend swinging their legs and slowing the rebuild down. If Cherington is to move Reynolds, he needs to make sure he’s slowing the seesaw down and not jumping off altogether. This would mean the kind of overpay Joe and I have laid out where the upside of the pieces would need to have Ben running to the phone, and most GM’s don’t find those packages very palatable.
This could do more than slow the rebuild; it could anger a fan base that is already none too happy with the franchise. No GM should make moves based on the fans, but with the team poised to get better over the next two years, moving one of the linchpins of that improvement seems ill conceived. In short? Pay the man his money and keep Reynolds in Pittsburgh!