It was known that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Bryan Reynolds had resumed, during the camp, contract negotiations for a long-term agreement.
We also understood, in the absence of a formal announcement, that the two parties had not managed to agree before the deadline imposed by the outfielder: the opening day.
On the other hand, we feel that the Pirates and the player are closer than this winter, when Reynolds requested a trade.
What you need to know is that the outfielder didn’t ask to leave because he didn’t want to stay, but because he felt he was getting silly by the Pirates in the negotiations.
He didn’t like seeing Ke’Bryan Hayes get a great offer, but not get the same treatment.
But during the camp, there were rapprochements between Reynolds and the high authorities of the Pirates. At what point? To the point where Reynolds’ deadline has been pushed back because a deal is possible.
But why hasn’t he signed yet?
At the last minute, when the financial terms had been taken care of, Reynolds asked for an exit option in his contract. And that, the Pirates don’t want to do that.
Reynolds cut the money (he wanted $134M, but he should earn around $106.5M, eventually) and he accepted that the money would be paid to him mainly towards the end of the agreement, in order to give flexibility to Pirates.
But he asked that an exit option be included after the fourth year.
The problem? The first three years of the eight-year deal (he has a contract in 2023 for which seven seasons would be added) are control years for the Pirates anyway.
The club therefore does not want to sign such a long contract to see him potentially leave a year after the expected date of autonomy at the base.
Would the Pirates accept an exit option after the fifth year? The sixth? I don’t know, but we can think not, at the base.
I’m not going to throw the first stone at Reynolds asking for an exit option. After all, the Pirates haven’t been good for years and I’m not going to blame him for keeping himself a way out… especially since it’s fashion for the stars.
Note also that the contract, at the request of the Pirates, is more lucrative towards the end. Reynolds would therefore take the chance to leave a lot of money on the table by getting out of his contract in four years.
I believe the outfielder has made concessions and now it’s up to the Pirates to put money on the table to keep one of the best in his profession.
And this, even if it is not exactly in the habits of the house.
Imagine how happy fans would be on April 7, the Pirates’ first home game of the season, if a contract extension were to be in place. With Andrew McCutchen back in town, that would give fans hope, right?