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  • Ethan Semendinger

Left Field Trades: Bryan Reynolds

The Yankees have at least one player set for each position next year but left field. Is there a player out there to trade for?

 

The Background on Bryan Reynolds:

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bryan Reynolds and his family moved to Tennessee while he was a kid, which led him to attending Brentwood High School (Brentwood, TN). While there, he garnered the attention of Division I scouts and accepted an offer to play for Vanderbilt University. He wasn't drafted out of high school and being underrated would forever follow Reynolds during his career.


While at college, Reynolds immediately became an integral part of the team, helping them win the college World Series as a freshman and continuing to improve his game over his sophomore and junior years. This helped him become a 2nd Round (59th Overall) draft pick by the San Francisco Giants as part of the 2016 MLB Draft. A supposed "first round talent", as said by San Francisco representatives after the face, it's clear that nobody saw him that way as he dropped well into the 2nd round. The San Francisco Giants would only hold on to Reynolds through the end of 2016 and the 2017 season before moving on from him to acquire Andrew McCutchen ahead of the 2018 season. Reynolds was mostly just a throw-in halfway decent outfield prospect when pundits talked about the trade.


After joining the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Reynolds would spend the 2018 season (ended early after needing hand surgery) and the early part of the 2019 season in the minor leagues before earning a call-up to the MLB for a debut on April 20th. From then on, Reynolds would be an MLB player. That first season, Reynolds would finish 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year vote, and then a horrible 2020 COVID season happened before he became an All-Star and finished 11th in NL MVP voting in 2021. Heading into this past season, Reynolds signed a 2-year deal with the Pirates worth $13.5 Million through the 2023 season. After this, he still has his Arbitration 2 and 3 years still to come with team control through the 2025 season.

 

The Stats on Bryan Reynolds:

Bryan Reynolds has spent parts of 4 seasons (2019-2022) with the Pittsburgh Pirates while playing 493 games. During this time, he has hit to a combined .281/.361/.481/.842 quadruple slash (127 OPS+) with 500 hits, 74 home runs, 189 extra base hits, 239 RBI's, 16 stolen bases (8 times caught) and 198 walks to 438 strikeouts. This has led him to accumulate +13.6 bWAR and +12.5 fWAR.

 

Creating a Trade Proposal for Bryan Reynolds:

One of the best things about looking at trades is trying to theory-craft different ideas for how a player could come over to the Yankees. Now, I am by no means an expert at this and if we want to adapt an old saying from the best in the business: "Your Trade Proposal isn't Very Good". That applies to me as much as it does to you. This doesn't mean that we can't have fun attempting to come up with a general trading principle, but it serves as a reminder that there is a reason none of us are running a major league franchise.


For Bryan Reynolds, his value (according to BaseballTradeValues.com) comes out at +59.9 MTV. (MTV means Millions [of dollars] of Trade Value.) That value is calculated to figure out how valuable he will be on his current contract, plus future control. As he's under control for the next 3 seasons and he'll be getting paid just $6.5 Million in 2023 and have an arbitration salary for 2024 and 2025, his value is very very good. He also does not have a no trade proposal to work around, though as the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates, it would not be an easy task to get him to New York.


It's also been stated in the news that the Pirates are asking for a teams top 3 prospects in a trade for Reynolds (this rumor comes from this Ken Rosenthal article. Note: sub. req.). This came after Reynolds publicly came forward and requested for the Pirates to trade him.


Now, the top 3 Yankees prospects- Anthony Volpe (+50 MTV), Jasson Dominguez (+26.5 MTV), and Oswald Peraza (+27.8 MTV)- collectively are worth +104.3 MTV and far exceed Reynolds' value of +59.9 MTV.


Now, this doesn't mean a trade isn't possible. What I am thinking is that the Pirates have that "3 top prospect" offer in order to get the best from teams that have poor farm systems. However, if a team like the Orioles- whose Top 3 prospects are all within the Top-15 prospects in baseball- were interested that would obviously differ from the Chicago White Sox- whose Top prospect is ranked #57 and has just one other in the Top-100, being ranked #95. Obviously, there would be two very very different offers coming from those teams. Thus, I think we can play around with the "top 3 prospects" ask.


The Pittsburgh Pirates, if trading away Bryan Reynolds are going to want something good. That means at least one of the Yankees top prospects. For the sake of this experiment, we're going to say that the Yankees are willing to send Anthony Volpe as their big prospect to the Pirates as that token prospect. His +50 MTV and his status as a Top 5 prospect in the MLB carries a lot of weight in this trade.


However, Volpe alone would not be worth it for the Pirates. Thus, the Yankees follow up with asking for reliever David Bednar (+21.9 MTV). Just this afternoon, Hal Steinbrenner talked about how the team wasn't quite done and they were going to continue looking at the relief market. Getting back Bednar in this deal would also help corroborate those rumors that the Yankees were set to do something huge in the days leading to them signing Carlos Rodon.


So, now a combination of Reynolds and Bednar brings the Pirates to a value of +81.8 MTV. The Yankees will need to find another 31.8 MTV (with Volpe) to make this deal work.


Next, we add Everson Periera and his +16.8 MTV. Ultimately, the Pirates are going to demand a top outfield prospect back as well. He's the Yankees #5 prospect and just under the Top 100. He also cuts that difference in half.


Then, we could go two different ways. The first option is to include Gleyber Torres and his +11.6 MTV. The Pirates could then flip him for other prospects or keep him around on a team that finished 25th (by fWAR) amongst second baseman last year. Why they would keep him if they are trading Reynolds could be to build more value as a trade deadline piece, but it's an option. Though, probably not plausible. With Torres however, the deal comes to the Yankees giving up +78.4 MTV, which is reasonably close. To finish the deal the Yankees could then add a mid-tier pitching prospect (like Yoendrys Gomez, +3.6 MTV) to finish the deal.


Or, we could consider the Pirates only want prospects. Then we'd add another Top 100 prospect in Austin Wells and his +8.3 MTV. Think of all the times the Pirates got an old Yankees catcher in recent history. This move lets them get ahead of that trend! And, with his lower value, the Yankees would then also have to add another Top-10 system prospect (like Will Warren, +4.6 MTV) to finish the deal.


The Pittsburgh Pirates Get: Anthony Volpe, Everson Periera, and Gleyber Torres/Gomez OR Austin Wells/Warren

The New York Yankees Get: Bryan Reynolds and David Bednar

 

Would I Do This?

I think the mark of a good trade is something that fans of both teams would not be a fan of. To me, the first move- as much as I think the Yankees should move on from Gleyber Torres- is the move that I am more hesitant on. I'd be perfectly okay trading a package of 4 prospects for two proven MLB players. Trading Gleyber Torres would be a bit harder for me to swallow.


And that's why I think I'd do the Gleyber Torres deal first and pivot to the Austin Wells deal if the first didn't hold. Gleyber Torres is just important enough to the Yankees- as they are constructed right now and with DJ LeMahieu's injury- that it'd take a blockbuster move to have him go. Trading him in this package with Volpe for Reynold and Bednar would be that blockbuster move.


The Yankees said they had a bombshell coming. The Yankees still need a left fielder. (More on this in a second.) The Yankees are on the record for wanting a better bullpen. This move would fit all three of those molds.


Now, some people may say that "Brian Cashman stated today that Aaron Hicks is the left fielder". Of course he did! Why wouldn't he? Aaron Hicks is still a member of the New York Yankees, he is still getting paid by them, and he's- at the moment- the scheduled left fielder for next year. Of course the general manager is going to talk up the players on his roster. AND ESPECIALLY those who he may be looking to trade. Think about it this way: a farmer selling carrots with ugly spots on them- regardless of if they change the taste or not- is not going to sell well showing those ugly spots. Instead, he'll highlight his good carrots and add a few of the ugly ones in when you buy a bundle. It's simple business. Don't talk down your product.


I can further support this with a quote by then-Yankee Bubba Crosby. He stated, as written by the New York Post in 2005- that, "I want to be an every-day player; that’s every kid’s dream. But I know in this organization things can change like the wind. I could be the starting center fielder and in two weeks somebody could be available". This was after Joe Torre publicly announced that Bubba was going to be the starting center fielder for the Yankees in 2006. This article came out on December 1st, 2005.


Just over a month later, on January 3rd, 2006, the Yankees signed Johnny Damon to a 4-Year/$52 Million deal. Needless to say, Crosby didn't start Opening Day as the center fielder.


All of that was a big tangent from my point, however. Ultimately, I think Bryan Reynolds would be a great get for the Yankees. He'd cost a lot, but especially if the Pirates were willing to really make the trade interesting by adding Bednar, I think the trade would be easy to make.

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