July 6, 2022

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Reynolds inks 2-year deal with Bucs, marks occasion with HR

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PITTSBURGH — Bryan Reynolds and the Pirates will not be headed to an arbitration hearing after all, agreeing to a two-year deal Thursday.

“I’m really glad this is where we landed,” Reynolds said. “Now, we move forward and go through with the season and grind.”

The deal will pay Reynolds $6.75 million in 2022 and ‘23, according to a source. Reynolds, who has Super Two status, still has two more years of arbitration for ‘24 and ‘25, then he is still set to become a free agent following the ‘25 season.

Prior to this deal, Reynolds and the Pirates appeared headed for arbitration. Reynolds asked for $4.9 million, while the Bucs countered with $4.25 million. With Reynolds’ first two years of arbitration now settled, his focus can shift back to the diamond. Appropriately enough, Reynolds had two hits, including a two-run home run, and two walks in the Pirates’ 9-4 win in the opener of a four-game series against the Nationals at PNC Park only hours following the deal.

“I don’t think anybody ever wants to go to a hearing,” Reynolds said. “For me, personally, I love Pittsburgh. I love my teammates and everything like that. To knock it out quickly like we did and to land where we’re at, I think it worked out really well.”

General manager Ben Cherington said the Pirates typically have two options when it comes to the arbitration process: settle by the exchange date (due to the lockout, that date this year was March 22) or go to a hearing. Cherington noted that Pittsburgh is not going to change that policy, but with Reynolds, “it happened to line up where over two years we were able to find some common ground and figure out a way to do it.”

Cherington added: “You can’t always avoid [arbitration], and sometimes you get to a hearing and it’s fine. It’s not the end of the world, but if you can avoid it, you avoid it. And in this case, we just had to figure out a different way to avoid it.”

Between Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes, it’s been quite the start to the season for the Pirates. The Bucs and Hayes agreed to an eight-year, $70 million extension on April 7, with a club option for a ninth season, the largest contract in franchise history. Hayes expressed hope last Thursday that the Pirates continue to spend to keep several teammates in Pittsburgh.

In signing Reynolds for the next two seasons, the Bucs are holding up that end of the bargain.

“I think that’s being shown, for sure,” Reynolds said. “You saw Ke’Bryan, now this, too. I think we’re definitely taking steps in the right direction.”

When Hayes’ extension was made official, owner Bob Nutting said it was “time for us as an organization to put a stake in the ground.” Locking down Hayes long-term and Reynolds for two of his four arbitration years are both means toward that end.

“It’s awesome,” Hayes said. “That’s part of the reason I signed. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”

While neither party has to worry about arbitration for the next two seasons, Reynolds’ deal is not a true long-term deal. When Cherington was asked if this deal could be momentum toward a true long-term extension, he expressed a desire to keep the focus on the field.

In Hayes and Reynolds, the Pirates have a pair of foundational pieces who can contribute to winning baseball. More young talent awaits in the wings. And while there will continue to be a tinge of uncertainty around Reynolds unless he reaches an extended deal, there’s reason for a little optimism in Pittsburgh.

“We’ve got a bunch of good players that are already here,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got a bunch of good young guys in the Minor Leagues. I think we’ve got the bones to be a good, competitive team. The fact that I get to be part of that for at least the next four years is great.”

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