According to recent reports, Bryan Reynolds has officially requested to be traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old outfielder is coming off a successful season where he hit 27 home runs and accumulated an .807 OPS and a 125 wRC+ (which was actually a down season by his standards). He has also been seen as a more than serviceable center fielder throughout his career, although his -7 OAA (Outs Above Average) left some to be desired this past season.
These reports were music to White Sox fans’ ears, as Reynolds would be the perfect target to fill the hole in the team’s outfield entering the 2023 season. His power production would be a welcome addition to a lineup that was lacking in that department last season, and he is a switch-hitter who has generally been more productive against right-handed pitching (career 130 wRC+) than he has against left-handed pitchers (career 117 wRC+). His drop-off in defensive production shouldn’t be a concern either, as a shift to a corner outfield spot could very well allow him to regain his effectiveness in that area.
The question here isn’t whether the White Sox should pursue Reynolds, as the answer should be an overwhelming yes. The issue, however, is whether they have the pieces to get a trade done. Theoretically, they can put together a competitive package surrounding top prospects Colson Montgomery and Oscar Colas to get in the conversation. The question will be if they can keep other teams from outbidding them. There is no question Reynolds will be highly sought after, as he is entering his age 28 season and is controlled through the 2025 season. Because of this, there will be no shortage of teams ready to sell the farm to acquire the impactful and cost-controllable outfielder.
White Sox fans don’t have to look too far to find a somewhat similar trade situation, as Adam Eaton was a cost-controllable outfielder that netted the White Sox a substantial return. That trade brought in three valuable pieces. The first was Lucas Giolito, who was still a consensus top-40 prospect at the time despite a downward trend. Reynaldo Lopez was the second piece, and he was widely regarded as a top-100 prospect. Dane Dunning was the final piece, as he was a recent first-round draft pick who was very successful in his minor league debut. Reynolds is most likely viewed as a more impactful hitter than Eaton was, so the trade package required to net him will most likely be even larger than this.
So, can the White Sox afford to trade for him? Though you shouldn’t bank on it, they should absolutely try. Here are three different packages the Sox can offer that will at least get Hahn his highly sought-after “seat at the table.”
Trade Scenario 1: Sell The Farm
White Sox Receive: Bryan Reynolds
I can already hear the hate coming from White Sox Twitter about trading the team’s top three prospects for one player, but if the White Sox think he is the missing piece, then this is likely close to the return that the Pirates would require. Montgomery and Colas are probably necessary to include in any offer (unless they are seeking more MLB talent), and Bryan Ramos is at the peak of his trade value and would most likely be required to be part of the package. A pitcher would also need to be involved as well, so I assumed the Pirates would prefer one who is closer to an MLB call-up, so I added in Sean Burke.
Trade Scenario 2: Trading MLB Assets
White Sox Receive: Bryan Reynolds and Ji-Man Choi
Once again, Colson Montgomery will have to be included in any trade. But in this situation, the Pirates would require Andrew Vaughn as a short and long-term upgrade over Ji-Man Choi, whom the Sox can take back to add some left-handed power as a 1B/DH/bench bat. This scenario also provides them with a risky but high-upside potential future starter in Crochet and a controllable reliever in Lambert.
Trade Scenario 3: Quantity Over Quality
White Sox Receive: Bryan Reynolds
I do NOT think this trade is realistic at all. However, let’s pretend the Pirates will look at this as an opportunity to add an influx of talent into their farm system with one trade. We saw a similar approach from the Orioles when they traded away Manny Machado (although he was a rental), so it is a route that should at least be explored. The White Sox would keep Oscar Colas on the roster in this situation, while completely depleting their farm system, to obtain an outfield of Robert, Reynolds, and Colas to compete for the next several seasons.
BONUS: Jordan Lazowski’s Fun with Trade Simulators
This trade scenario was provided by Jordan Lazowski as a reminder that trade simulators are not to be relied on. However, feel free to praise him as the savior of the White Sox franchise with this genius trade scenario!
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