The 2023 Major League Baseball season is underway, but that doesn't mean an end to the rumors. Here's Friday's dose.
Opt-out complicates Reynolds' contract talks with Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates and outfielder Bryan Reynolds have according to multiple reports been heavily engaged in talks on a contract extension, but the two sides were unable to reach an accord before the team's season-opener on Thursday.
Rob Biertempfl of The Athletic reports that discussions on a proposed $106-million-ish framework hit a snag over Reynolds' desire for an opt-out, which would allow him to become a free agent before the expiration of the contract. However, Biertempfl also writes that talks are not dead even though the 2023 season is underway:
"The good news for Pirates fans is neither side has broken off talks, which means a deal remains possible in the next few days. It's not hard to imagine the Pirates hoping to announce they've signed the face of their franchise to a long-term deal before the April 7 home opener against the White Sox."
Reynolds, 28, originally joined the Pirates as a prospect in the 2018 trade of Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants. He made his MLB debut in April 2019 and is a career .281/.361/.481 hitter who has averaged 24 home runs and 4.5 WAR per 162 games in his career. A switch-hitter with good defense in center, Reynolds figures to become an All-Star possibly as soon as the current season.
Earlier this offseason, Reynolds took the unusual-in-MLB step of requesting a trade out of Pittsburgh. That trade has of course not come to pass, and the current discussions show that Reynolds is indeed open to remaining with the Pirates. Owner Bob Nutting is among the worst in MLB when it comes to investing in the on-field product, and that no doubt played a role in Reynolds' request. A nine-figure extension is, however, a persuasive notion for a player who's still almost three full seasons from free agency.
Should discussions between team and player indeed fall apart entirely, then Reynolds could emerge as one of the biggest names among potential trade candidates leading up to the deadline.
Sánchez lands with Giants
The Giants have agreed to terms with veteran catcher Gary Sánchez on a minor-league contract, Ken Rosenthal reports. Sánchez, 30, spent last season with the Twins, and in 128 games for Minnesota he slashed .205/.282/.377 with 16 home runs.
Sánchez peaked with the Yankees, as he notched a pair of All-Star selections and a pair of 30-homer seasons while playing the Bronx. For his career, Sánchez has a career OPS+ of 109 across parts of eight MLB seasons. However, he hasn't performed at a high level with the bat since 2019. He gives the Giants, who have struggled to fill the catcher role since the retirement of Buster Posey, another potential option behind the plate.