Today the Indians designated DH/3B/1B Mark Reynolds for assignment.
Signed to a one-year contract last winter, Reynolds was the Indians’ $6 million man. For a while there, it looked like he’d be worth every penny, and then some. In his first 19 at-bats, Reynolds clobbered four home runs.
He hit His on-base percentage was .368 in the month of April, with eight home runs. His slugging percentage was .651. Only two players in the major leagues, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera, are currently slugging at a better pace.
No one really expected him to maintain that pace, and he didn’t. But not too many people expected him to drop off as severely as he did. He had a
decent less-than-stellar May, batting .310 .218 with five homers. His slugging percentage for the month dropped to .386, a mark which is currently bettered, for the season, by 109 players.
Then the bottom REALLY fell out. In June, Reynolds had only two extra-base hits, both homers, in 91 at-bats. He had the same result in July over 51 at-bats. From July 1 through yesterday, in what will probably be his final game in an Indians uniform, Reynolds went 25 for 151, which is a batting average of .166. And those weren’t productive outs he’d been making, either. He’s struck out 123 times in 335 at-bats. By comparison, Adam Dunn has struck out only two times more, in 39 more at at-bats. And Dunn has 26 home runs, compared to Reynolds’ 15.
This is a move the Indians simply had to make. Looking back, it’s easy to say that they should have made it a few weeks ago, but you can’t blame Terry Francona for hoping that Reynolds would somehow hit his way out of the slump. He didn’t, though, and now his days as an Indian are almost certainly over.
This will mean more playing time for Lonnie Chisenhall, who hasn’t necessarily shown that he’s worthy of it, and for Ryan Raburn, who has shown that he is.
Reliever Preston Guilmet has been called up from the AAA Columbus Clippers to take Reynolds’ place on the 25-man roster. The right-handed pitcher appeared in one game with the Indians earlier this year. In AAA this season, his ERA was 1.95, with an impressive 64 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings of work.
Update: Due to haste on my part, I misidentified a few of Reynolds’ statistics, which mainly had the effect of making his May performance seem better than it actually was. Although he did hit five home runs in May (do that every month, you’ll end up with a respectable 30 dingers for the season), his production began to drop markedly as early as that month.