Reynolds, Bucs negotiating opt-out in extension talks (source)

March 31st, 2023

CINCINNATI -- The Pirates and outfielder  were near an agreement on what would be a franchise-record eight-year, $106 million contract extension (seven years, $100 million beginning in 2024), but a late request from Reynolds's agents for an opt-out clause after the 2026 season is putting a potential deal on hold, a source told’s Mark Feinsand. The club has not confirmed the news.

On March 24, Reynolds said that if he and the team were to agree to an extension, he would like to get the deal done before Opening Day, noting that his deadline would be “pretty firm.” While Opening Day has come and gone, it does not appear that either party has walked away from the bargaining table just yet.

If a deal is reached and Reynolds is able to opt out after 2026, the Pirates would have extended him through just one of his free-agent years.

Reynolds, 28, declined to answer questions regarding his contract situation following the Pirates’ 5-4 win over the Reds on Thursday.

Prior to last December’s Winter Meetings, Reynolds requested a trade from the Pirates. At the beginning of Spring Training, Reynolds said the request stemmed from a “difference of opinion” regarding his worth as a player. Still, Reynolds remained open to signing a long-term deal.

“I think I’ve been pretty open over the past few years that my number one [preference] 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.”

At the time, Reynolds said there had been a significant gap between the two parties in negotiations. Now, it appears both sides have been able to find a middle ground, the opt-out clause being the feature that has prevented the extension from being completed.

At the end of Spring Training, general manager Ben Cherington re-affirmed the team’s desire to have Reynolds wear a Pirates uniform for years to come.

“We would like to have him here for a long time,” Cherington said. “We've been, in at least one case since I've been here, able to find agreement with a player and be able to do that. We want to be able to do that again with players and keep doing it. So that door will remain open with players.”

Last April, Reynolds, who has Super Two designation, signed a two-year, $13.5 million deal that bought out his first two years of arbitration. Reynolds still has two more years of arbitration eligibility in 2024 and ‘25. As things stand, he would become a free agent after the 2025 season.

The Pirates have never signed a player to a nine-figure deal -- extension or free agency -- in franchise history. On April 7, 2022, Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pirates agreed to an eight-year, $70 million contract extension, a deal that usurped Jason Kendall’s then-franchise-record six-year, $60 million deal.

Reynolds has been one of baseball’s most productive outfielders over the last several seasons. Since 2019, Reynolds, a 2021 All-Star, ranks 11th among all outfielders in fWAR (12.5). The switch-hitter owns a career .281/.361/.481 slash line and 126 wRC+.