1-24-23 – By Justin Verno – @JV_Pitt on Twitter
I’m not sure starting something like this off with a disclaimer is normal, but here goes:
DISCLAIMER-I am not advocating to trade Bryan Reynolds with this piece. I’m always of the opinion that the return should always determine if a team should or should not have made a trade.
But if we are being honest here, the rumors will persist. They will grow and rattle and multiply until the Pirates front office extends him. Trades him. Or flat out takes him off the market: and even then I’m quite certain we hear some rumors like “the Yankees will make a run at Bryan Reynolds at the deadline” type whispers.
One specific rumor has me, I guess you can say annoyed. And not because it’s out there but because of the fan reaction to it and the pure ridiculousness of it. And whether you take it on the surface or delve into the details of what the rumor implies, it makes no sense.
The rumor? That Ben Cherington is looking for a “Juan Soto type return”. And you’ll have to forgive me here as for the life of me I cannot recall who first shouted that the theater was on fire, most likely due to the mad rush to the door and ensuing screams and mayhem that followed. Twitter has been a blur of people trampling over people and screaming how dare they, Bryan Reynolds is not Juan Soto.
First off let’s start out with admitting the obvious, Bryan Reynolds is in fact, not Juan Soto. B-Rey is good, really really really good. A .281/.361/.481 slash line is excellent and any team would love to have that in their line up. However, it isn’t .287/.424/.516. The biggest separation in their games is the OPS and wRC+. With Reynolds bolstering a healthy .842 and 126 to Juan’s .950 and 153. Did I mention Soto is just 24 and has already amassed an fWAR of 22.8? He’s elite. Reynolds is excellent, he’s not elite.
With that out of the way let’s take a look at WHY this rumor is just ridiculous. Ken Rosenthal is one of the insiders that broke that the Bucs are looking for a Soto type return. But lets take a look at the entire quote-
“One rival official, in what surely was an exaggeration, said the Pirates want a ‘Soto-type package’ for Reynolds. Another said Reynolds is ‘super expensive.’ A third described him as ‘unlikely to move.'”
The important part of the quote gets ignored, “in what surely was an exaggeration”. I’m not why people look past that, but it’s very important to note. It drastically changes the perception and honestly sounds like a GM frustrated by failed attempts to acquire Reynolds. Another reason I find this rumor silly? We have heard exactly one package that GMBC has asked for or at the least the overall frame work of it.
That rumored package? GMBC asked for 2 of the Yankees top 3 of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Pereza and Jason Dominguez and 2 more of their ‘top prospects’. Is this a Jaun Soto type return? What would a Soto type return look like? Welp, lets get to it.
The Soto Deal-
It’s been a few months and finding Soto’s projections and Surplus Value has proven too much. But if memory serves me right his SV was somewhere around $99 million(shout out to Joe Boyd for the assist there). (here’s Bryan Reynolds for comparison sake. NOTE: the new projections are out and the market is high putting Reynolds SV closer to $65M)
Padres- Juan Soto and Josh Bell
Nationals- CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Woods, Robert Susana, MacKenzie Gore and Luke Voit
Let’s put Voit and Bell aside as neither had much value due to being rentals. This deal was about Soto for the prospects and MacKenzie Gore.
CJ Abrams-SS- ETA:2021 FV 60($55M)
The 16th ranked prospect per Fangraphs. Debuting at 21 years old. Big time get.
James Wood-OF-ETA:2026 FV 60($55M)
Rocketing up boards.
Robert Hassell III-OF- ETA:2023 FV 50($28M)
Flying thru the MILB systems.
Jarlin Susana-SP-ETA:2027 FV 40+($3M)
Big time FB/SL upside.
MacKenzie Gore-SP MLB SV using low side projections $30M
Add it all together and the Nationals received $171 million in trade value, in what looks like an overpay for Soto.
The only reported ask we have seen is the Yankee package I referenced above. 2 of Volpe, Pereza and Dominguez. How does that compare?
Anthony Volpe-SS-FV 60($55M)
Oswald Pereza-OF/SS/2B-FV 50($28M)
Jason Dominguez-OF-FV 50($28M)
Volpe and either Pereza or Dominguez come out to $83M. The rumor also suggests that the Bucs want “2 more top prospects”. The next 2 prospects for the Yankees are Yoendrys Gomez, SP 45+($6M) and Everson Pereira, OF 45+($8M). If Yanks were to agree to this type of a deal they’d be overpaying for Reynolds to the tune of $32M.($97M) Hardly a “Soto esq” deal.
What about a Dominguez ($28M), Pereza($28M), Gomez and Pereira package? That shakes out to $70M return. A slight overpay(By $5M) and a much easier deal to swallow, it’s nowhere NEAR a “Soto” type package.
I can’t say why this bothers me so much. Of course any good GM will seek an overpay on a Bryan Reynolds. 3 years of control matters and he should make it clear that if he is to move his best player that he needs a package he simply cannot say no to. I promise I am not saying they should move Bryan Reynolds.
Sitting here today it looks less likely that GMBC does indeed trade Reynolds. But if teams persist and keep upping the pot? If GMBC knows that he just won’t be able to get an extension done? I can see the perfect storm converging.
I think it’s important for fans to be realistic in the kind of return to expect. And Frankly, rumors about GMBC wanting a “Soto” type of return doesn’t really help when viewing it thru those glasses. If GMBC holds to a huge overpay it shows he really doesn’t want to move Reynolds. If GMBC does get the booty he needs and Reynolds finds himself in another city there’s one thing I can promise you. You aren’t going to like it anyway.