The great instances are rolling in Pittsburgh. Although their seven-game profitable streak ended on Tuesday evening as they failed to carry a 7-2 lead towards the Dodgers, the Pirates are off to a 16-8 begin, their greatest since 1992, they usually lead the NL Central by a recreation. What’s extra, they’ve lastly sealed a long-term take care of 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 Hayes‘ eight-year, $70 million extension because the group ventures into nine-digit territory for the primary time. The deal features a six-team no-trade listing, 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 needed an opt-out after 2026, which means that the Pirates would achieve just one extra yr 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 Tremendous 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 ultimate 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 providers in 2031, his age-36 season.
If these annual salaries appears just a little mild to you, you’re not alone, however the particulars of his state of affairs make it price a more in-depth look. We’ll begin with Dan Szymborksi’s ZiPS projection from February, which prompt a six-year, $95 million valuation for Reynolds’ 2024-29 years:
ZiPS Projection – Bryan Reynolds
Underneath the precise contract, Reynolds will probably be paid simply $81 million for these six years. Alternatively, 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 issue 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 group 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 yr. Even with ZiPS forecasting him at 4.0 WAR this yr, 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 yr for 2023-25, however he’ll solely make about 30% of that.
As Dan summarized through Twitter, “[I]t’s onerous to worth these seventh and eighth years very extremely in any respect for a 3-4 win participant that distant in his mid-30s. Clearly, Reynolds would have achieved higher if he had been a free agent this yr. However he’s not and this worth is the product of his age and MLB’s service-time guidelines; Reynolds simply didn’t have an excessive amount of leverage as a result of the Pirates already had practically all of the years they needed.”
That’s a little bit of a harsh actuality, but it surely’s offset by Reynolds getting the soundness and safety he valued. Although he requested a trade in December after the group reportedly provided a six-year, $80 million extension — over $50 million wanting the eight-year, $134 million deal he was searching for — he cared sufficient to return to the desk and located a approach 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 best way the group has been run beneath proprietor Bob Nutting, not one of the annual salaries ought to be backbreaking. Except his possibility is picked up, Reynolds received’t even set the franchise’s single-season report for wage, and never till 2027 would he surpass Andrew McCutchen for the best wage solely paid by the group, which seems to be an essential distinction given their dismal historical past:
Pirates’ Highest Single-Season Salaries
|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|
|Bryan Reynolds||2026||$14.0M||Future dedication|
|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. Somebody was certain to interrupt McCutchen’s franchise report earlier than the subsequent ice age arrived, and it is sensible that it was Reynolds, whose 6.2 WAR in 2021 was the highest for a Pirate since McCutchen’s 7.4 WAR in ’14.
As for his present efficiency, once 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 Participant of the Week. Now he’s all the way down to .294/.319/.553, and his 127 wRC+ is simply two factors forward of final yr 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 more durable this season than he has previously, 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
Through Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton, exit velocity begins to stabilize round 40 batted ball occasions and barrel price 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. Floor 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 listing. (Reynolds left the group 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 recreation — what’s Derek Shelton ready for?)
With extra balls within the air, the next 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 key league-leading .896 he put up in the course of the season’s first two weeks, however that was at all times going to occur.
The excellent news for the Pirates is that whilst 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 recreation). In the meantime, on the opposite aspect of the ball the Pirates are permitting solely 3.92 runs per recreation, the NL’s fourth-lowest price, they usually’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 important measures of hope, and wrapping up Reynolds for the long run is one thing price celebrating.