The talk about Reynolds getting traded has not been nearly as loud as it could’ve been. First, he started off the season slowly, and he has also been hurt with an oblique injury. However, in between those two events, he started hitting like his best self again, and he is due to return to action today. This could very well be the week that he re-establishes himself as a big piece on the trade market.
Trading for Reynolds comes with more trade-offs than trading for Happ or Benintendi would. The Astros would almost certainly have to part ways with someone on their Major League roster, in addition to a couple of high-quality prospects. It’s no Juan Soto-level trade package, but it’s not anything to sneeze at either. The benefit, though, is that he is under team control until 2025, and he presents the option of upgrading at center field instead of left field, another place where the Astros don’t yet have a clear long-term answer. There is no denying what Reynolds can do at his peak: last season, he was an MVP candidate, finishing 6th in the NL in fWAR with 6.1, batting over .300 with a wRC+ of 142 (5th in the NL). This season, he has a wRC+ of 126 and is only on pace for about 3 fWAR, but that’s still better than what Astros center fielders have offered this year – and it’s only a fraction of what Reynolds can do.
The Astros have lost a lot of marquee free agents over the years and had no trouble replacing them. The loss of Gerrit Cole was offset by the emergence of Valdez and Garcia in the rotation. Jeremy Pena has arguably been better than Carlos Correa this year, for about 1/50 of the price. The departure that has actually hurt the most was that of George Springer – since he went to Toronto, Houston hasn’t been able to field a long-term solution in center field. Reynolds could be the answer to that.
Of all the moves the Astros could make this deadline that qualify as “realistic”, this would be one of the boldest. It’s undoubtedly a bigger swing than trading for a Happ or a Benintendi, but it’s also the type of deal that a World Series favorite needs to make, and at 1.5 games back of the Yankees, the Astros haven’t been this close to the AL’s top seed for months. Acquiring Bryan Reynolds would truly shake things up, and the Pirates might feel as though they can get the best of both worlds by cutting him loose for future assets, considering the emergence of rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski. It would be a statement, and Astros fans have been waiting on a statement trade for weeks.