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Perrotto: The One Pirates Story That Keeps Lingering

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Bryan Reynolds

Two months later and the story won’t quite go away.

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds requested a trade in early December after talks with the team about a contract extension reached an impasse.

Reynolds remains with the Pirates as spring training approaches. All indications are he will be in uniform on Feb. 20 for the first full-squad workout at Pirate City.

Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has been consistent since the trade request that he has no desire to deal the 28-year-old. While plenty of teams have inquired about Reynolds, the Pirates’ asking price has remained too high to make a deal.

More details keep leaking about the failed extension negotiations.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported Thursday that the Pirates’ last offer to Reynolds was for six years and $76 million. That would represent the richest contract in franchise history, surpassing the eight-year, $70-million deal third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes signed last April.

Industry sources say Reynolds is seeking a contract in the range of eight years and $130 million. It seems highly unlikely the Pirates would sign a player to a nine-figure contract, especially considering Reynolds isn’t getting any younger.

Plenty of teams remain interested in Bryanb Reynolds, though. The Seattle Mariners are at the top of a list that includes the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers among others.

Most baseball executives I’ve spoken with believe the Pittsburgh Pirates are much more likely to move Reynolds around the July 31 trade deadline than before opening day. Contending teams are always certain to make better offers in the heat of a pennant race when they feel one player can push them over the top.

Reynolds’ unsettled situation could be a distraction when spring training begins but it’s doubtful. It would be very much out of character for the low-key Reynolds to create a stir when reporters inevitably ask him about the trade request.

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Manager Derek Shelton scoffed at the idea Reynolds could be a problem when he met with the beat writers last Friday.

“You guys will talk to him about it, probably the first day,” Shelton said. “I talked to Bryan yesterday. He continues to work. We had a good conversation. I don’t expect it will be an issue at all. He’s had a good offseason with his work. He continues to get better. I think the separation of that with how he performs on the field, there will be no effect. Bryan Reynolds will play the way he plays.”

Shelton is right. The media will ask Reynolds about the trade request on the first day he reports to camp.

After that, it will likely become a nonstory, at least for a while. Yet it will keep lingering in the background until the situation is resolved.

As more details emerge and the gulf between the sides becomes clearer, that resolution sure seems more likely to be a trade than a signing.

 

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