Despite trade request, Reynolds still open to long-term deal

February 15th, 2023

BRADENTON, Fla. -- For the last two months, the inner machinations of Bryan Reynolds’ mind have been a mystery.

Reynolds, to no one’s surprise, did not talk publicly about his trade request during the offseason after the news became known. What Reynolds was -- and wasn’t -- thinking was purely a speculative matter. On Wednesday, the speculation ended.

Reynolds opened Spring Training by speaking to reporters regarding his trade request, the first time he has discussed matter since it became news.

The All-Star outfielder said that the request resulted from a “difference of opinion” regarding his worth as a player. When asked if he believes the matter has been resolved, Reynolds said the situation has not changed. General manager Ben Cherington added on Thursday that there is no update, adding that the opportunity to negotiate will remain open. 

Reynolds expressed his affinity for the team, the city and the fans, and he said that he remains open to signing a long-term extension. He confirmed, though, that there has been a significant gap between the two parties in past negotiations.

“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. Not a crazy player [deal], not a crazy team deal. That’s always been my number one.”

The Pirates are not obligated to deal the outfielder. He remains under team control for the next three seasons. 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. Still, Reynolds expressed frustration regarding how the negotiations have unfolded.

“I think we have a right to have those emotions, too, and that’s what we did, but obviously, we can’t force them to do anything,” Reynolds said.

The contract situation might be unresolved, but Reynolds expressed a commitment to the present and preparing for this upcoming season.

Reynolds said the request did not affect his preparation, calling the stream of news “background noise that was going on.”

“Like I said, I’m here,” Reynolds said. “I’m always going to be where my feet are at. I’m here right now, so I’m locked in for 100 percent Pirates and whatever that takes. I’m just down here now to get my work in and start to have a good season.”

Manager Derek Shelton said on multiple occasions this offseason that he did not believe Reynolds would become a distraction. On Wednesday, Shelton, once again, shared those sentiments.

“There is a business side to this game,” Shelton said. “You have to understand that. Our expectation, my expectation and everything that I think Bryan has said to me personally and publicly, is he’s going to be the same guy and go about his business. That’s kind of what we expect. Don’t think there’s going to be anything different.”

Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes echoed Shelton, saying that the business side of baseball will not affect Reynolds' or the Pirates' play.

“At the end of the day, he’s here to play baseball,” Hayes said. “Every day, he’s going to come in; he’s the same person every single day, whether he’s going through those talks or if he’s not. Since I’ve been here talking to him, he’s the same Bryan Reynolds. I feel like he’s going to be the same player that he always is. He’ll show up every day and help his team win.”