Latest On Pirates’ Trade Possibilities

Few players who could plausibly be moved this summer would be as impactful a pickup as Bryan Reynolds. The Pirates center fielder isn’t performing at quite his star level from last season, but he’s having another well above-average campaign. Through 335 plate appearances entering play Friday, Reynolds owns a .257/.337/.463 line with 15 home runs, 10 doubles and a trio of stolen bases.

Controllable for another three-plus seasons, there’d be no shortage of interest if the Bucs make him available over the coming weeks. Jon Heyman of the New York Post lists the Yankees, Marlins, Phillies, Padres and Mariners among the teams likely to gauge his availability. There are no surprises among that group, as all five are known to be in the hunt for outfield help and/or have made unsuccessful attempts to pry Reynolds away in the past.

New York has relied on Aaron Judge in center field to great results, but they’ve grown dissatisfied with the continued struggles of Joey Gallo and (to a lesser extent) Aaron Hicks in the corners. They could eye Reynolds either to plug directly into left field or as a center field option capable of kicking Judge back to right. Miami and Philadelphia have direct needs in center field and figure to inquire about various possibilities at the position; the Fish have been linked to Oakland’s Ramón Laureano as well.

San Diego has holes in both corner spots and has watched center fielder Trent Grisham flounder for most of the year. Seattle may have the most robust outfield of any of the reported Reynolds suitors, but Jarred Kelenic struggled enough to be optioned to Triple-A and they’ve not gotten the production they’d anticipated from Jesse Winker or Mitch Haniger this season (the latter on account of injuries).

The quintet, of course, would certainly be joined by other suitors if the Pirates actively shopped Reynolds. Pittsburgh, however, has set a justifiably lofty asking price both at last summer’s deadline and over the winter. That makes him a longshot to actually change hands, and Heyman notes in a separate piece that it remains “unlikely” the Bucs will find a compelling enough offer to make a move.

That may also be true of star closer David Bednar, whom Heyman floats as a possible trade candidate. One of five players the Pirates acquired in the January 2021 Joe Musgrove deal, Bednar has emerged as one of the sport’s best late-inning weapons. Since landing in Pittsburgh, the right-hander has posted a 2.26 ERA while holding opponents to a .187/.255/.321 line in just shy of 100 frames. That includes 39 innings of 2.31 ERA ball this season, with Bednar punching out more than a third of batters faced and likely to earn his first All-Star nod.

The 27-year-old comes with even more club control than Reynolds, as he’s slated to remain in Pittsburgh through 2026. Bednar won’t reach arbitration-eligibility until the 2024 campaign, so there’s no financial pressure for the Bucs to make a deal. Needless to say, they’d have to be blown away by a package to pull the trigger on a Bednar trade as well.

One player the Bucs are virtually assured of trading is starter José Quintana. The veteran southpaw is having a solid bounceback season after signing a $2MM free agent deal over the winter. He’s a sensible back-end rotation target for teams seeking pitching help, and the Bucs have already fielded hits from contenders. As an impeding free agent on a team that won’t come anywhere near the postseason, he’s as good a bet as any player in the league to change uniforms over the next few weeks.

Quintana suggested he’s not dwelling on the possibility of being dealt, saying he’s “(staying) focused on one start at a time” (link via Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic). He acknowledged a move was a possibility, but indicated he’d be open to returning to Pittsburgh in free agency next winter. “For sure, I want to come back here. But I think it’s too soon to talk about that. I want to keep my eyes focused on this season, one start at a time.” Nothing would preclude the Bucs from reengaging with Quintana’s representatives during the offseason if/when he’s dealt this month, but this season’s solid 3.33 ERA/3.96 SIERA make it likely he’ll land a loftier guarantee (and perhaps a two-year commitment) if he continues to pitch well down the stretch.

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