Why Bryan Reynolds would be a great fit for the Atlanta Braves
By Steven Teal
It was reported on Saturday that Bryan Reynolds has requested that the Pittsburgh Pirates trade him as their extension talks have reached an “impasse”. Moreover, it was also reported by Ken Rosenthal that the Atlanta Braves had been making a push to acquire Reynolds BEFORE Reynolds asked to be traded.
Reynolds is an extremely talented switch-hitting outfielder that would be a welcome sight to any team in the majors. He has only been in the league four years now and has proven he can provide quality offense and defense.
The Pirates as an organization, well, aren’t known as being the best around. There are some great up-and-coming talents on that team, but it’s safe to say someone like Reynolds is ready to play somewhere where winning a championship is plausible.
Why Bryan Reynolds makes sense for the Atlanta Braves
Does Reynolds make sense for the Braves? There is a need for an upgrade in left field for Atlanta and Marcell Ozuna has proven to be a huge liability defensively with Eddie Rosario not exactly being inspiring out there, either. The offensive output from Ozuna of late has been dreadful as well (ditto on Rosario). Reynolds would give the team a more competent defender and hitter and arguably the best outfield in Major League Baseball.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic, reported that he was told Atlanta was planning on making an “under-the-radar” push for Reynolds in the off-season.
"At the start of the offseason, a major-league source told The Athletic the Braves might make a strong, under-the-radar push for Reynolds this winter. That could mean a sort of homecoming for Reynolds, who attended Vanderbilt and lives in Nashville, a four-hour drive from Atlanta."
Salary-wise, Reynolds is an absolute bargain as he is set to make $6.75 million in 2023 and is the second year of a two-year deal. It seems a lot like a Matt Olson situation where you could see the Braves trade for Reynolds and immediately extend him on a multi-year deal. Likely not of the 8-year variety but closer to the 3-4 year range.
The Pirates have some areas that need filling such as the catching position and the Braves have an excess at that position with Manny Pina slated to return in 2023 as well. There have been rumors that Atlanta was considering acquiring Sean Murphy. So, there is a chance a trade for Reynolds could be on the table.
The Braves are thin on position players to trade but there are plenty of good pitching options to use in a trade package such as Elder and Muller who don’t have a clear path to the rotation in 2023 but would help any team if given a shot.
So, Reynolds makes sense financially but how about statistically? In 2022, Reynolds had a slightly down year at the plate for the Pirates. His slash line in 2022 was .262/.345/.461 with a .807 OPS including 27 HR and 62 RBI. Still had a good average but was not as good as his previous season suggests.
His career line is .281/.361/.481 with an OPS of .842 with 500 hits including 74 HR and 239 RBI. Those are fantastic numbers and would play well in Atlanta. Now, defensively Reynolds has played more games in center field (306 games) than in left field (134). However, his defensive metrics actually play much better in left field which shows he could be the perfect fit.
Let’s compare some defensive metrics from both positions real quick.
Career in LF:
Career in CF:
His outs above average is clearly much better than in center field but it’s a drastic difference in DRS and UZR between the two positions. It seems like a no-brainer for the Braves to try and trade for Reynolds and see what he can do on a contender.
This is clearly all just speculation at this point but it’s a player that seemingly fits in perfectly on this Atlanta team. Alex Anthopoulos will definitely try his hardest to make it happen if the deal makes sense for a player who brings value to the organization.