Wednesday, May 8

Bryan Reynolds Wraps Up Extension With Pirates

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The good instances are rolling in Pittsburgh. Though their seven-game profitable streak ended on Tuesday evening as they failed to carry a 7-2 lead in opposition to the Dodgers, the Pirates are off to a 16-8 begin, their finest since 1992, and so they lead the NL Central by a sport. What’s extra, they’ve lastly sealed a long-term cope with their star left fielder, as Bryan Reynolds has reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $106.75 million extension that covers his 2023-30 seasons.

It’s the biggest contract in Pirates historical past, outdoing Ke’Bryan Hayeseight-year, $70 million extension because the staff ventures into nine-digit territory for the primary time. The deal features a six-team no-trade checklist, the primary time in 17 years that the Pirates have included some type of no-trade safety in a contract. Notably, it doesn’t embrace an opt-out clause, an merchandise that had beforehand been a stumbling block when the 2 sides neared a deal with the identical dollars-and-years framework simply earlier than Opening Day. Reynolds wished an opt-out after 2026, that means that the Pirates would acquire just one extra 12 months of management if he had been to train that possibility.

As with that proposal, the contract incorporates the 28-year-old Reynolds’ $6.75 million wage for this season, his second of arbitration eligibility (as a Super Two, he has two extra remaining). He additionally receives a $2 million signing bonus, with salaries of $10 million and $12 million for 2024 and ’25, his closing two arb years, after which $14 million for ’26 and $15 million yearly for ’27-30. The Pirates maintain a $20 million membership possibility and $2 million buyout for his companies in 2031, his age-36 season.

If these annual salaries appears a bit mild to you, you’re not alone, however the particulars of his scenario make it price a more in-depth look. We’ll begin with Dan Szymborksi’s ZiPS projection from February, which instructed a six-year, $95 million valuation for Reynolds’ 2024-29 years:

ZiPS Projection – Bryan Reynolds

2024 .269 .352 .463 547 81 147 27 5 23 83 63 131 5 123 3.4
2025 .264 .349 .453 537 78 142 27 4 22 80 62 127 4 119 3.0
2026 .262 .346 .442 520 74 136 26 4 20 75 60 124 4 116 2.7
2027 .256 .341 .425 497 69 127 24 3 18 69 57 119 3 110 2.1
2028 .251 .336 .413 470 63 118 22 3 16 62 53 114 3 105 1.7
2029 .246 .331 .398 435 57 107 20 2 14 56 49 106 2 100 1.2

Under the precise contract, Reynolds might be paid simply $81 million for these six years. On the opposite hand, he’ll make $15 million for what eyeballs to be a couple of one-win projection for 2030, a lot of that shortfall comes out within the wash.

The drawback for Reynolds — the explanation the greenback figures aren’t greater — is one thing of an ideal storm of service time and growing older curves. He was stellar in 2021, making the NL All-Star staff whereas hitting .302/.390/.522 (141 wRC+) with 6.2 WAR, however he slipped to .262/.345/.461 (125 wRC+) and a couple of.8 WAR final 12 months. Even with ZiPS forecasting him at 4.0 WAR this 12 months, going ahead he initiatives to lose about one win for each two years as he ages. On prime of that, his wage is being drastically suppressed by the arbitration system throughout what challenge to be his strongest seasons; as a free agent, he’d be price over $30 million a 12 months for 2023-25, however he’ll solely make about 30% of that.

As Dan summarized through Twitter, “[I]t’s hard to value those seventh and eighth years very highly at all for a 3-4 win player that far away in his mid-30s. Obviously, Reynolds would have done better if he were a free agent this year. But he’s not and this price is the product of his age and MLB’s service-time rules; Reynolds just didn’t have a great deal of leverage because the Pirates already had nearly all the years they wanted.”

That’s a little bit of a harsh actuality, nevertheless it’s offset by Reynolds getting the steadiness and safety he valued. Though he requested a commerce in December after the staff reportedly provided a six-year, $80 million extension — over $50 million in need of the eight-year, $134 million deal he was in search of — he cared sufficient to return to the desk and located a strategy to keep, even forgoing the opt-out.

It’s good to see Pirates followers get good issues for a change, and the construction of Reynolds’ deal is such that even by the craptastic requirements of the way in which the staff has been run beneath proprietor Bob Nutting, not one of the annual salaries must be backbreaking. Unless his possibility is picked up, Reynolds gained’t even set the franchise’s single-season file for wage, and never till 2027 would he surpass Andrew McCutchen for the best wage solely paid by the staff, which seems to be an vital distinction given their dismal historical past:

Pirates’ Highest Single-Season Salaries

Player Year Salary Note
Bryan Reynolds 2031 $20.0 Future membership possibility
A.J Burnett 2012 $16.5 $11.5M from Yankees
A.J Burnett 2013 $16.5 $8.5M from Yankees
Bryan Reynolds 2027 $15.0M Future dedication
Bryan Reynolds 2028 $15.0M Future dedication
Bryan Reynolds 2029 $15.0M Future dedication
Bryan Reynolds 2030 $15.0M Future dedication
Andrew McCutchen 2017 $14.0M
Bryan Reynolds 2026 $14.0M Future dedication
AndrewMcCutchen 2016 $13.0M
Francisco Liriano 2016 $13.0M Traded to Blue Jays 8/1/16
Wandy Rodriguez 2013 $13.0M $4.5M from Astros
Wandy Rodriguez 2014 $13.0M $5.5M from Astros

SOURCE: Cot’s Contracts/Baseball Prospecuts

Is Reynolds nearly as good as prime Cutch? No, however McCutchen signed his six-year, $51.5 million extension 11 years in the past, and business inflation has clearly pushed salaries upwards since then. Someone was sure to interrupt McCutchen’s franchise file earlier than the subsequent ice age arrived, and it is smart that it was Reynolds, whose 6.2 WAR in 2021 was the best for a Pirate since McCutchen’s 7.4 WAR in ’14.

As for his present efficiency, when I checked in on him simply a few weeks in the past, Reynolds was off to a scorching begin, hitting .356/.367/.778, main the NL in slugging share and homers (5), and rating fifth in each WAR (0.7) and wRC+ (184); amid that tear, he was named NL Player of the Week. Now he’s right down to .294/.319/.553, and his 127 wRC+ is simply two factors forward of final 12 months and two behind his preseason ZiPS projection. Regression doesn’t fiddle, children.

That mentioned, even given the ups and downs, Reynolds is hitting the ball tougher this season than he has prior to now, and the pattern sizes are both approaching or previous the purpose the place they begin to stabilize, so his efficiency is price an replace:

Bryan Reynolds Batted Ball Profile

Season BBE GB/FB GB% FB% EV LA Barrel% HardHit%
2019 373 1.56 46.4% 29.8% 89.5 9.4 6.7% 41.0%
2020 129 1.27 43.8% 34.4% 87.5 10.2 10.1% 38.0%
2021 444 1.10 38.9% 35.5% 89.4 13.4 10.4% 40.8%
2022 403 1.24 43.2% 34.7% 90.2 12.0 7.9% 42.9%
2023 72 0.97 38.9% 40.3% 92.3 18.3 19.4% 51.4%

Via Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton, exit velocity begins to stabilize round 40 batted ball occasions and barrel charge at 50 BBE, so you can begin to take what he’s achieved so far severely; he’s within the 84th percentile for the previous and 92nd percentile for the latter. Ground ball, fly ball, and hard-hit charges start to stabilize at 80 BBE, a complete he ought to attain quickly after he returns from the bereavement checklist. (Reynolds left the staff for a private matter on Sunday, which allowed the Pirates to recall 33-year-old profession minor leaguer Drew Maggi, who has but to get right into a sport — what’s Derek Shelton ready for?)

With extra balls within the air, a better common exit velocity, and extra frequent barrels, Reynolds has an anticipated batting common of .314 (ninety fifth percentile) and an anticipated slugging share of .604 (93rd percentile); he’s fallen off from the most important league-leading .896 he put up throughout the season’s first two weeks, however that was all the time going to occur.

The excellent news for the Pirates is that at the same time as Reynolds has cooled off, different gamers have stepped up, to the purpose that Connor Joe (.328/.423/.590, 174 wRC+), Jack Suwinski (.269/.385/.635, 166 wRC+) and McCutchen (.270/.371/.527, 141 wRC+) are outhitting him inside a lineup that ranks sixth within the NL in wRC+ (108) and fourth in scoring (4.92 runs per sport). Meanwhile, on the opposite aspect of the ball the Pirates are permitting solely 3.92 runs per sport, the NL’s fourth-lowest charge, and so they’re tied with the Brewers for third within the league in run differential (+24) behind solely the Cubs (+45) and Braves (+38). It’s nonetheless early sufficient to not get too wound up about their begin, however for the primary time in awhile, the Pirates are providing vital measures of hope, and wrapping up Reynolds for the longer term is one thing price celebrating.

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