Bucs ink Reynolds to 8-year deal, with club option for 2031

April 26th, 2023

PITTSBURGH -- When discussed his offseason trade request on the first day of Spring Training, he emphasized his affinity for the organization. He liked the city and the fans. He liked PNC Park. He liked his teammates. Everything.

Now, Reynolds will have the opportunity to continue to enjoy being part of the organization for years to come.

The Pirates signed Reynolds to an eight-year contract with a team option for 2031, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal is valued at $106.75 million, a source told MLB.com, the richest deal in franchise history.

“Well, I think you guys all know I'm a huge Bryan Reynolds fan," said manager Derek Shelton. "Bryan Reynolds having the ability to be here long-term is really important and it means a lot to us."

The deal, which begins now, making it a seven-year, $100 million extension over his current $6.75 million contract for 2023, includes a six-team no-trade provision and a $2 million signing bonus. The deal includes a club option for 2031 that is worth $20 million, with a $2 million buyout.

Reynolds, 28, will make $6.75 million in 2023; $10 million in '24; $12 million in '25; $14 million in '26; $15 million from ’27 to ’30; with the $20 million club option against the $2 million buyout for ’31. In total, Reynolds can make as much as $124.75 million, according to the source. The financial terms were not confirmed by the club.

"I think it’s really special, not only for Bryan as a player, but as a person, too," said reliever David Bednar. "I’m really pumped for him and his family. Moreso, I’m pumped to have him as a teammate for a long amount of time."

Last April, Reynolds and the Pirates agreed on a two-year, $13.5 million contract to avoid arbitration. Reynolds, who has Super Two designation, had two years of arbitration remaining in '24 and '25, but this extension buys out those seasons.

This contract extension comes at a time when the Pirates are already the talk of baseball.

After Tuesday night's 8-7 loss to the Dodgers, the club is 16-8 -- tied with Atlanta for the best record in the National League -- and has won seven consecutive games. Reynolds has played no small part in that success, hitting .294/.319/.553 with five home runs in 22 games. Earlier this month, Reynolds was named the National League’s Player of the Week.

Along with their hot start, general manager Ben Cherington announced on Saturday that the club has agreed to an extension with Shelton beyond the 2023 season. Upon hearing the news, Reynolds made his affinity for Shelton known.

“He’s the right guy to lead us,” Reynolds said. “He was the same guy even though we were losing 100 games a year. There was no panic. There was no personality switch, which can’t be easy. I know that as a player, it’s hard to show up.”

Now, the Pirates keep the good vibes rolling by locking down Reynolds, one of baseball’s best outfielders over the last several years. A one-time All-Star, Reynolds owns a career .282/.359/.484 slash line with 79 home runs and a 126 wRC+. Since 2019, Reynolds ranks 12th among all outfielders in fWAR (13.0).

This is the second consecutive year in which the Pirates have signed a player to a long-term extension. Last April, the Pirates signed third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year, $70 million extension. At the time, Hayes’ deal was the richest in franchise history, eclipsing the six-year, $60 million deal that Jason Kendall signed in 2000.

"We’re all happy that he’s staying here and can’t wait until he gets back," Hayes said of Reynolds, who is currently on the bereavement list and was not at the ballpark on Tuesday.

This extension puts an end to a long, winding saga that both Reynolds and the Pirates are surely glad is over.

Reynolds’ name has swirled around in rumors since he was named an All-Star, but things came to a head when Reynolds requested a trade from the organization prior to the Winter Meetings. Despite the request, the Pirates obviously did not trade Reynolds during the offseason.

On the first day of Spring Training, Reynolds said the request stemmed from a “difference in opinion” regarding his worth. Still, Reynolds remained open to signing an extension, noting that he wanted a deal that was fair for both sides.

“I think I’ve been pretty open over the past few years that my number one would be to sign an extension in Pittsburgh, but I want that to be a fair deal for both sides -- not one side or the other,” Reynolds said on Feb. 15. “Not a crazy player [deal], not a crazy team deal. That’s always been my number one.”

Towards the end of Spring Training, Reynolds said that if he and the team were to agree on an extension, he would like to get it done by Opening Day, adding that his deadline would be “pretty firm.” While Opening Day came and went without the two parties agreeing to a deal, Reynolds and the Pirates came close to agreeing on an extension, but a late request for an opt-out clause after the 2026 season put the deal on hold.

There had not been any new developments during April -- Cherington said as recently as Saturday that there was nothing to report -- but at long last, the ballad has reached its conclusion.

"He wanted to be here, he always would say it," Hayes said. "I think he’s just going to be even more comfortable now. He’s going to go out there and have fun. He won’t have to worry about that side of it anymore. Yeah, I’m just super happy that he’s staying."

With Reynolds signed, starter Mitch Keller and shortstop Oneil Cruz now stand as the two young players the organization could look to extend next.

Keller, 27, is building on last year’s breakout season and emerging as the team’s ace. This season, Keller owns a 3.64 ERA with 30 strikeouts across 29 2/3 innings and has thrown four consecutive quality starts.

Cruz, 24, is currently recovering after fracturing his left fibula with an injury to the syndesmosis and is expected to return to play in about four months. The shortstop has displayed an unparalleled combination of power and speed during his 98 career games, totaling 19 home runs, 13 steals and a 110 OPS+ while breaking several Statcast records.