The Minnesota Twins are well-situated at one corner infield spot right now with the move of All-Star catcher Joe Mauer to first base, but third base remains up in the air a bit with no obvious options to push Trevor Plouffe for the starting job. Could an addition be made soon that will change that?
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com reported on Monday that the Twins are among a few teams interested in veteran infielder Mark Reynolds, along with the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. He spent last season with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees, hitting .220 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI over 445 total at-bats while seeing time at both first (65 games-58 starts) and third base (54 games-46 starts). Prior to that Reynolds spent two seasons with the Orioles (2011-2012) after starting his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-2010), and he has topped 20 home runs in each of the last six seasons with 202 total home runs over his seven major league seasons.
Any mention of Reynolds as a hitter has to include his propensity to strike out at epic levels, since he struck out over 200 times in three straight seasons (2008-2010) and led the league he was in in strikeouts in four straight seasons (2008-2011). He also had 141 home runs over those four seasons, including a career-high 44 in 2009, so Reynolds was an all-or-nothing hitter even at his peak.
Reynolds’ ability to play first and third base surely has some appeal to teams, but he does not play either particularly well and advanced fielding metrics back that up. A right-handed hitting infielder who hits for power while playing subpar defense? If that sounds a lot like Plouffe, that is not your imagination. If the Twins are seriously looking to add someone to push Plouffe for the starting job at third base, or perhaps replace him, they can definitely do better than Reynolds.