The Atlanta Braves look to be in for an interesting trade deadline in 2021. Could they target Bryan Reynolds from the Pittsburgh Pirates?
2021 has been an interesting season for the Atlanta Braves, as they have yet to get over .500, but somehow only find themselves less than five games back in the division race.
With that being said, the Braves schedule is favorable to make a run before the All-Star break. However, after the break they open up with the Rays and Padres. The Braves could easily find themselves as buyers at the end of July or they may need to consider selling some short-term assets to retool for 2022.
So, it is best to look at targets that the Braves could trade for that would benefit them beyond 2021. Enter Bryan Reynolds.
Now, there is a chance the Pirates may not be looking to trade the 26-year-old Reynolds, who has four years of control left. The Pirates are probably a few years away from competing though, so it may make sense to capitalize on moving Reynolds who value is at an all-time high.
The Pirates have a top farm system, but it can never hurt a rebuilding team to add more assets. They would potentially be able to add a few high-end prospects if they decided to move Reynolds.
Before a potential package is discussed, take a look at Reynolds’ stat line and how he would benefit the Atlanta Braves.
Reynolds Shines in 2021
Reynolds 2021 stat line: .314/.401/.548 with 15 home runs, 46 runs, 46 RBIs, three steals, .406 wOBA, 160 wRC+, and a 161 OPS+.
His 0.8 UBR shows he is valuable on the base paths. The switch-hitting Reynolds would lengthen the Braves lineup this season and beyond, helping provide more opportunities for the rest of the Braves offense.
Looking at his defense in 2021, Reynolds has a 0 DRS in 139 innings in left field and a -2 DRS in 493.1 innings in center field. Despite his below-average defense this season, Reynolds actually sports a positive DRS (11) in his career across the outfield.
Reynolds has probably been playing above his head a little this season, but looking at his advanced metrics, his expected stats still support this strong season.
- xBA- .285
- xwOBA- .384
Even if his numbers regress down to his expected statistics, he would still be having a great season.
His career line of .289/.364/.484, .362 wOBA, 127 wRC+, and 125 OPS+ show that Reynolds has been productive in his short MLB career. He may not be a superstar, but he is a really good player that would benefit any contender’s lineup.
What would it take?
Well, that can be a bit tricky. As mentioned earlier, the Pirates may not be looking to move Reynolds if they think they can compete within the next three years.
However, his value is probably the highest it is ever going to be, and the Pirates may be tempted to cash in. If they do decide to move him, Reynolds would probably bring in a huge package in return.
That means it could start with Cristian Pache or Drew Waters as a headliner. Next, the Pirates might be interested in a catching prospect, meaning William Contreras or Shea Langeliers could be considered.
A third piece could be included as well, potentially a mid-level pitcher to help round out the deal.
It would be a costly move, but Reynolds would be controllable through 2025. I personally think this is the type of move the Braves should consider making, acquiring a young controllable bat that would fit in the lineup for several years alongside Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley.
Reynolds is one of my current favorite players outside of Atlanta, and his ability to get on base would benefit the Braves for years to come. He would be a welcome addition at the top of the lineup, helping set the table for the rest of the Braves sluggers.
Even if the Braves do not make this move at the deadline, it could be a move that makes sense in the offseason. The Braves may be more willing to move William Contreras during the offseason as well, seeing as they are currently thin on major league catchers.
It would be a hefty price to pay to acquire Reynolds with his four years of control, and we have not seen the Braves be willing to part with their top prospects thus far in a big move. Will this deadline be any different?
There are several options for the Braves to consider this deadline. I think Bryan Reynolds should be near the top of the list of trade candidates and could really benefit the Braves for years to come, not just 2021.