According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Pirates and centerfielder Bryan Reynolds have avoided arbitration with a two-year agreement that will cover 2022-23. The deal will pay Reynolds $13.5M over the two years, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The two sides previously looked like they were headed for an arbitration hearing after Reynolds asked for $4.9M and the Pirates countered with $4.25.
It’s a bit unusual for the Pirates to make a move like this. Typically a file and trial team, the Pirates historically have gone to a hearing if no agreement was reached by the arbitration exchange date. By agreeing to a two-year deal, the agreement is a bit of a loophole to avoid breaking precedent.
The deal ensures that Reynolds will have a guaranteed salary for both this year and next, meaning the parties won’t have to worry about arbitration again next offseason. After these two years, Reynolds still has two more arbitration years left as a super-two player before being eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.
The 27-year-old Reynolds is coming off a terrific season for the Bucs that saw him get named a 2021 All-Star as well as a Gold Glove finalist. He finished 11th in the National League MVP race. So far this year, Reynolds is off to a bit of a slow start with a .227 batting average and a .591 OPS, but through just five games.
With a two-year agreement now in place, it is unclear if the Pirates will pursue a long-term extension with Reynolds in a deal that would keep him in Pittsburgh beyond his current contractual control.