The Cleveland Indians are reportedly on the verge of signing Mark Reynolds to a contract. Reynolds would help fill the Indians’ need for a first baseman/designated hitter, with the ability to play some third base. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to break the news via Twitter. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the deal is for one year and is worth $6 million, with up to an additional $1.5 million in incentives.
Reynolds was allowed to walk by the Baltimore Orioles last month after they declined to pick up his option for 2013. He posted a .221/.335/.429 batting line with 23 home runs in 2012, and amassed 60 home runs with the Orioles over two seasons. The trouble with Reynolds, is that he strikes out a tonne and doesn’t offer much in the way of a glove. The right-handed slugger struck out in 29.6% of his plate appearances in 2012, which was actually the lowest rate he’s registered in his career.
Despite the high strike out totals, Reynolds still brings some value to Cleveland. He should have no trouble helping Indians fans forget about the void at DH/1B left by Travis Hafner, who has not made 500 plate appearances since 2007. Reynolds exhibited his usual ability to mash (.208 ISO in 2012), and rode a strong September (9 of his 23 home runs came in the final month) into the postseason.
Lonnie Chisenhall is expected to be given every opportunity to hold down the every day third base gig in Cleveland which, given the addition of Reynolds to play first, probably spells the end of the club’s interest in Kevin Youkilis.
Reynolds’ best season came in 2009 with the Arizona Diamonbacks when he hit 44 home runs and finished with a .260/.349/.543 line and a .381 wOBA. Reynolds has been worth 0.8 fWAR over the last two seasons with the Orioles.