In a deal first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the New York Yankees have signed power-hitting first baseman Mark Reynolds, who is expected to join the team in Boston on Friday to open a big three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees will enter play at nine games back of the first place Red Sox in the AL East, as well as six games back of the second wild-card berth.
The recent additions of Alfonso Soriano, along with the returns of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson back to the lineup, the Yankees have started to become a formidable lineup again, as long as everyone can get going.
The signing of Reynolds is a move that many might see as unneeded and foolish, while I view it as perfect and long overdue.
Reynolds signed with the Cleveland Indians this past offseason on one-year, $6 million deal, and got off to a hot start with the Indians in April, hitting .301 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in the month of play. But afterwards, his numbers began to drop dramatically, as he would only hit seven more home runs up until being released by the Indians on Monday.
But now, Reynolds is a Bomber, and I suspect that he’ll bring along everything that brought him 60 home runs in two years as a Baltimore Oriole in 2011-2012.
Reynolds brings a lot to the Yankees. For a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in home runs from the right side of the plate, he’ll help that problem in many ways that a player like Michael Young — who many thought the Yanks made the wrong move to pass in at the trade deadline — will have provided.
More importantly, Reynolds gives the Yankees something they’ve been looking for ever since Mark Teixeira went down for the year with season-ending wrist surgery — a right-handed bat to platoon with Lyle Overbay.
Being able to limit Overbay to only face right-handed pitching would be a big help to the Yankees, as he’s batting .271 against righties this season, while his batting average against lefties in only .206.
Having Reynolds will also help end the Yankees endless search for a backup to Overbay, which once included having Vernon Wells start a game at first — even Robinson Cano has been taking some balls at first lately, because, you know, just in case.
On the technical side of things, I see no reason to be mad at Yankees general manager Brian Cashman for making this move. Reynolds is only 30 years old, and the deal is perceived to be through the rest of 2013, with a pay-rate of the pro-rated league minimum salary — so he’s not breaking the bank on this one.
In the best case scenario, the Yankees catch lightning in a bottle with Reynolds, the same way they did with Overbay, Wells and Travis Hafner. Worst case, he flops and the Yanks cut him, losing little to anything at all.
Like Adam Dunn, he’s a high-risk, high-reward type of player. While he’ll strike out more than half the time, making contact with the ball has a high chance of the ball leaving the park.
I’m not saying that this is a move that will save the Yankees season, but while a team known as the Bronx Bombers struggles to come across anything that resembles the Yankees of old, a move to find power, while also filling a big gap in the lineup, is good enough, on paper, to say job well done.
Mark Reynolds is the same thing as having Teixeira back, but it was a move that was needed and a move that the Yankees were finally willing to make.
Gavin Ewbank is a Yankees writer for Rant Sports. Feel free to follow him on Twitter, @GavinEwbank2013, for more Bombers Beat.