Cleveland Indians Off-Season in Review: Signing of 1B Mark Reynolds

Kim Klement-US Presswire

This is my first piece on Rant Sports and I’m excited about writing about my favorite baseball team, the Cleveland IndiansI am starting my time here with reviewing the Indians’ off-season so far.

Most baseball fans know two things about Mark Reynolds:

1. He had some power.
2. He set the single season record for strikeouts.

Reynolds was traded to the Baltimore Orioles from the Arizona Diamondbacks before 2011 and played third base at replacement level, mostly because of his glove. He was moved across the diamond and played 108 games at first base and had a Fangraphs WAR of 0.5 and a BRef WAR of -0.1. An increase in fielding value, where Reynolds played around replacement level was offset by a decrease in power (37 HR in 2011 to 23 HR in 2012). The Indians are taking a chance on Reynolds, signing him to a one year $6 million contract with $1.5 million of incentives.

Other than starting pitching, the Indians’ greatest need is for a right handed power hitter that played a corner position. They are hoping Reynolds fits the bill. He did have a higher OBP than normal in 2012 and hopefully he can at least maintain his power numbers and hopefully bring them back to his 2009 to 2011 levels.

Progressive Field is not a good home run park since it is a pitcher’s park to begin with and there is the high wall in left field so I’m expecting around 25 home runs in 2013. If Reynolds can play a passable first base then he will be a significant upgrade over Casey Kotchman and he won’t break the bank. I agree with this signing because it is the right term and has enough upside (Reynolds is entering his age 29 season) that it should provide an adequate return on investment.

Barring a Kotchman-like start to the season, Reynolds is blocking the stable of AAA/AA first basemen that the Indians have accumulated over the last year or so. Russ Canzler has ridden the waiver wire between the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland and the New York Yankees as a result of this move and although I think he deserves a shot as a bench player he wasn’t a viable starting option at first base. The Indians also have Mike McDade, Matt Laporta and Jesus Aguilar in case of injury or a lack of performance.

What do you think about this signing? Leave your comments below.

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