The Pirates and star center fielder Bryan Reynolds — a player many teams, including the Yankees, are interested in — have hit a mysterious stalemate in contract talks.
The two sides reportedly overcome a significant gap in salary to reach the goal line for what is expected to be the biggest deal in franchise history. And now a “conceptual issue” that is not apparently unrelated to compensation may blow the whole thing up.
No one knows (yet) what the issue is. But The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has some educated guesses. Among them: Reynolds wants a no-trade clause and the Pirates are not willing to oblige.
If it’s a no-trade clause, it’s understandable why Reynolds would want that. He’s married with two young kids and is hardly the flashy type. Simple is better. Reynolds likes Pittsburgh because it doesn’t have the fuss or glitz of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, and he probably does value the long-term security a no-trade clause would offer.
At the same time, Reynolds will be 35 by the time the (eight-year) deal was finished. The Pirates could certainly want the flexibility to go in another direction if his play declines.
If a no-trade clause is indeed the issue, the message seems pretty clear. Reynolds, who did not want to talk about the Yankees during spring training, likely does not want to play for them. Or any other big market club.
If so, it is understandable why the Pirates would hesitate to agree to a no-trade clause, even a partial one. If they want and/or have to move Reynolds down the line, it is a lot more likely they will be talking to teams like the Yankees, Mets, Cubs and Dodgers than the Brewers, Twins, Rays and Royals. It is also a bit rich to ask for a no-trade clause after demanding a trade a few months ago, even if half-heartedly.
Talks have not broken off between Reynolds and the Pirates. So a deal could still get done. But regardless of whether it does or does not, it seems pretty clear he is not a guy who wants to be in New York. Which is OK. No one needs another Joey Gallo.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.