Ben Cherington knows communication with players is key, especially Bryan Reynolds


It feels like Bryan Reynolds has been in trade rumors for years now.

The Pirates outfielder requested a trade earlier this offseason after there was speculation that he’d be dealt at last year’s deadline.

Reynolds, 28, just completed his fourth season with the Pirates. He’s a career .281 hitter with 74 home runs and 239 runs batted in over the course of 493 games since 2019. The outfielder is under club control through 2025 with a few arbitration years left and is set to earn $6.75 million in 2023 in the second year of a two-year extension.

Pirates general manager Ben Cherington is reportedly asking for a Juan Soto-like trade package in return for Reynolds, with the Yankees, Mariners, and Dodgers among interested teams.

Cherington joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and explained how he goes about any trade request and the importance of keeping the doors of communication open.

“This isn’t specific to Bryan, just sort of generally, because there’s a backdrop there where it’s no secret – and I’ve said publicly – that our first choice has been to have Bryan here for a long time, including hopefully through an extension. We’ve made efforts to do that; unfortunately, haven’t been able to accomplish that to this point,” Cherington said (12:19 in player above). “So there’s that background and then there’s a request and what is that based on? So you have two different things really. You have the contract background and then the request and the trade scenario.

“Both of those things by themselves, they’re so hard to do justice talking out loud about because, as you know, there’s so much nuance and so many variables whether you’re talking about someone’s contract or you’re talking about a potential trade,” he continued. “There are so many nuances, so many variables, and it’s so personal.”

Because of that, Cherington explained, it’s really hard to do justice to either one of those topics – let alone both – in a public setting.

“Which is why I’ve basically not tried to because I think I’ll not be helping the situation if I do,” he said. “In this case – as in any case – where my energy would go would be hey, let’s just make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep the door of communication open and so that any player – in this case, Bryan – but any player feels like he can express anything they want to express. Good things, bad things, frustrating things, anything in between.

“I’ve always felt – and I probably do take this from Theo (Epstein) – that if you keep the door of communication open then you just tend to keep more paths open,” Cherington continued. “Ultimately, although the way things get executed and exactly what the outcomes are sometimes there’ll be differences but we really mostly want the same things.”

The players want to play well to earn what they can during their careers, and the teams want the players to play well so they can compete for a championship. They’re on the same page in that sense.

“It all makes sense in that standpoint but in individual cases sometimes there can be frustrations, emotions, disagreements sometimes,” Cherington said. “I would just try to keep the door of communication as open as we possibly can in those situations and not talk about it publicly because it’s just hard to. It’s hard to do that well enough with all the nuance involved to help.”

Understandably, Cherington wants to keep those discussions in-house, but he gets that speculation is fun for fans and media alike.

“Totally understand why you or others or the public sphere would want to talk about it publicly,” he said. “As a fan, like if I’m a fan of a team in another sport let's say, of course, every time I see an article about who’s in the trade rumors, who’s going, who’s coming, of course, I’m going to click and read it. I totally get it. It’s part of the business we’re in, it’s part of the fun of the business.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images