Pittsburgh Pirates are buying and selling chips for the 2021 season

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have another Pirates-type start. You’re in last place in the National League Central and haven’t shown any signs of life for the first month and a half of the season. You have to think about who your trading chips are. This isn’t all that different from the last two or three decades of gaming.

Even so, the Pirates have some interesting trading chips to offer competing teams this year, including a center fielder, a relief pitcher, and a catcher. Will the pirates decide to sell some of their fortune or do they think they are about to hold their own? As this year has shown, the pirates may not be anywhere near the competition and should probably continue to focus on building and replenishing their farm system by deploying some high quality trading chips.

Pittsburgh Pirates trade chips

Bryan Reynolds, CF.

Bryan Reynolds would return most as the 26-year-old midfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and would not be eligible for a free agency until 2026. It could be a challenge for the Pirates to swap their midfielder as he could also serve as a building block for the organization. However, the organization has to take some surprising steps and acquire more assets if it is ever to be competitive. Trading with Reynolds would speed up this process as it would certainly call for a multi-prospect package.

Reynolds appeared in 2019 at the age of 24. In 546 record appearances, Reynolds hit an excellent .314 / .377 / .880 with 16 home runs and 37 doubles. As a rookie, Reynolds finished the season with a very respectable 4.1 wins over replacements. 2020 was a fight for the 25-year-old as he stayed under the Mendoza line with a .189 / .275 / .632 slash. After his flawless start to the 2021 season, we can write off his disastrous, shortened 2020 season. So far he leads the Pirates in WAR with 1.7 in 39 games.

Vanderbilt’s 2016 second round selection has consistently shown above-average strength and defense throughout his career. Interestingly, Reynolds appears to have changed his approach to the record and is more interested in kicking the ball in the gap rather than going over the wall, as evidenced by his league-top 15 doubles in 163 record appearances. His share of home races has dropped dramatically compared to his two previous seasons in major leagues (2.9% in 2019, 3.4% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021).

A team trading for Reynolds would hit a start center fielder with power-to-the-gaps, quality defense, and a midfielder who absolutely purees the pitching for left-handers. In 2021, Reynolds hit left-handers in 46 record appearances amounting to .381 / .435 / 1.078, compared to his right-handed slash line which is .255 / .376 / .764.

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