It seems increasingly likely that Bryan Reynolds will begin the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his manager isn’t expecting that to cause any issues.
The Pirates center fielder has asked out of Pittsburgh, but the team isn’t making it easy. They clearly value Reynolds, as evidenced by their reported Juan Soto-like ask in trade talks with other teams. There’s no shortage of interest in Reynolds, with the Yankees, Mariners and Dodgers among those linked to him, but it doesn’t appear any team has come close to meeting the asking price.
An exorbitant asking price is going to make any trade difficult to execute. Reynolds is a fine player, but even a slightly watered-down version of the Soto trade would still be a steep price to pay. He has a great bat, but outside of his arm is one of the worst defensive center fielders in MLB.
The Pirates' unwillingness to move Reynolds for anything less than a huge return could make for a precarious situation depending on how hellbent Reynolds is on getting out. But appearing on “The Cook & Joe Show,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton expressed little worry that Reynolds will be a problem.
“On his performance, I don’t expect it to have any impact. He’s working hard this offseason, just like he always does,” Shelton said. “He’s a guy that we’ve highlighted how he plays, and the conversations I have had with him – I mean I talked with him yesterday, there is no expectation that he is not going to be Bryan Reynolds and play hard and do the things that we ask him to do.
“Sometimes things happen on the business side, but we will separate that. I have nothing but the ultimate respect for him and the way he plays the game, and I think he’ll continue to do that.”
Reynolds has not spoken publicly about why he wants out. You could point to the Pirates’ lack of success while Reynolds has been there as a possible reason. It might also be tied into his contract situation, with the two sides so far unable to find common ground on an extension.
Even if Shelton knows what the impetus was for the request, he’s not divulging it.
“Those are probably going to be the questions he’s going to have to answer specifically. I wouldn’t want to talk for him in that regard," Shelton said. "But in terms of all the conversations that I have had with him, our coaches have had with him, he’s working hard this winter and he’s in a good spot."
Things are beginning to look up for the Pirates. Long-awaited prospects are about to become big league fixtures, and the team added veteran help around the roster to fill in gaps. They might not be a playoff team right away, but there is reason to be optimistic.
With that in mind, the last thing that’s needed is a cloud hanging over the team – something a trade request can do.
“Bryan will handle that with his teammates and has always been a good teammate," Shelton said. "He’ll handle that with his teammates, and how he plays is going to be the most important thing. That’s the most important thing, and don’t expect any of that to change.”
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