Bryan Reynolds’ Teammates Thrilled About Record-Setting Contract With Pittsburgh Pirates

Ke’Bryan Hayes is about to lose his distinction of having the richest contract in Pittsburgh Pirates history.

Outfielder Bryan Reynolds will break that record when he signs his eight-year, $106.75-million contract that he has agreed to in principle. The deal is expected to be finalized Wednesday afternoon once Reynolds passes a physical exam after missing the last two games while on the bereavement list.

That easily exceeds the eight-year, $70-million deal Hayes signed at the start of last season. The third baseman doesn’t mind one bit that he will be surpassed by his teammate.

“Just super happy for him,” Hayes said. “We’re all happy that he’s staying here.”

There was a large gap in December between what Reynolds was asking and what the Pirates were offering. The gulf was so wide that Reynolds took the rare step of asking for a trade just before the Winter Meetings began in San Diego.

Yet Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said all along that he had no desire to trade Reynolds and wanted to keep him for the long term.

After months of negotiations, both sides compromised to the point that they agreed to the framework of the deal during the final days of spring training. However, certain provisions in the contract became the last stumbling block.

Reynolds’ camp wanted an opt-out clause that would have allowed him to void the deal following the 2026 seasons and become a free agent. The Pirates have never included an opt-out clause in a contract and were fearful of setting a precedent.

Eventually, the sides reached one last compromise.

Reynolds agreed to drop the opt-out demand in return for the Pirates giving him a limited no-trade clause. Reynolds can choose six teams prior to each season that he can be traded to only with his consent.

Reynolds had two very public conversations with Pirates owner Bob Nutting in February during spring training workouts in Bradenton, Fla. Nutting said then that he made it clear to Reynolds that the Pirates wanted to work out a contract.

Reynolds’ teammates were also very public about their desire to keep a popular and productive teammate who started for the National League in center field in the 2021 All-Star Game.

Thus, the clubhouse mood was quite upbeat Tuesday night before the surprising Pirates lost to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 at PNC Park. The Pirates have the second-best record in the major leagues at 16-8 – behind the Tampa Bay Rays’ 20-4 – following four consecutive last-place finishes in the NL Central.

“Awesome. Pumped up. I’m pumped up to have him here, pumped up for him and his family,” closer David Bednar said. “He’s a great ballplayer. For him to be here and locked up here, it’s very exciting. It just speaks to the direction it’s going and the guys in this locker room who have been a part of that. It’s been a good start to the season and hopefully we can keep that rolling.”

Derek Shelton took over as the Pirates’ manager prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Reynolds is just one of four players left from that team with Hayes and right-handers JT Brubaker and Mitch Keller.

“Bryan Reynolds having the ability to be here long-term I think is really important and it means a lot to us,” Shelton said. “I’m a big Bryan Reynolds fan, so hopefully he’ll be a Pirate for a while.”

Considering the contract runs through the 2030 season and includes a club option for 2031, Shelton could get his wish.

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