There were a number of rumors that Kevin Youkilis would choose between the Indians and the Yankees at some point this weekend. Before any Youkilis decision became public, the Indians announced that they were signing Mark Reynolds to a 1 year/$6 million deal that could be worth as much as $7.5 million with incentives. Even though Reynolds strikes out A TON, he’s a right-handed power bat on a very reasonable contract, especially when you consider that the Indians paid Grady Sizemore $5 million last year.  While there is speculation that this ends any chance of Youkilis coming to Cleveland, Buster Olney said that it’s not impossible, just much less likely.

About a week ago, I discussed Reynolds in my post about players non-tendered by other teams. (Reynolds was non-tendered by the Orioles.)  In 2012, he hit .221/.335/.429 with 23 home runs with Baltimore, and his career averages with the Orioles and Diamondbacks are .235/.332/.475.  The only time he failed to hit at least 20 home runs in a season was his first in the majors – 2007.  To put that in perspective, Carlos Santana led the Indians in homers last season with 18.  Even though Reynolds does swing and miss a lot, he still has a reasonable on base percentage and good slugging totals; his OPS is pretty respectable most seasons.

Even though Kevin Youkilis typically has much higher OBP figures than Reynolds, he has had some problems with injuries over the past couple of years and is four years older.  Some of the rumors that were floating around with a potential Youkilis deal claimed that the Indians likely offered him more than 2 years/$18 million.  The Reynolds deal, comparatively, is a pretty good bargain and still gives the Tribe some room to maneuver from a financial perspective.  They could always flip Reynolds at the trade deadline for prospects, or even if he’s a huge bust, it’s only a one-year deal.  I wasn’t crazy about Casey Kotchman, but he’s gone now; it’s not like they were saddled with him for several years.

I typically am personally not a huge fan of players in the Reynolds mold (low average, lots of strikeouts, lots of power), since I typically prefer players like a Kenny Lofton or an Omar Vizquel.  (Less power, but more aspects to their game).  Still, I’m reasonably pleased with this deal.  It’s not perfect, but none of the Indians’ options usually are perfect.  They lacked a right-handed power bat last year, and this fills that hole.  It’s a low-cost, one year deal; not some three or four year contract north of $10 million per season.  And let’s look at the bright side – even if Reynolds runs up his strikeout totals this year, his swings and misses could at least provide a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day!

16 Comments

  • Tom Meyers says:

    I live in Virginia and get the Orioles games o local cable. One very under-rated aspect of his game is his glove work at firstbase. Tribe infielders will be saved numerous errors by his glove and fottwork around the bag. He’s very inconsitent at the plate, but way under the radar with the glove (only at first).
    Hope he pans out for the Tribe, there’s no reason he shouldn’t.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I’ve heard fairly positive things about his defense at first (although not the same can be said about his defense at third!)

  • Chris Burnham says:

    I like it! He’ll keep us cool with all the fanning he’ll do when it warms up, too. :-D

  • Chris Burnham says:

    Oh, serves me right for not reading all the way through before saying anything.

  • Cadfael says:

    This actually makes me happy. I’d rather see someone hitting low .200s with some pop than whatever we’ve been cobbling together at first base in recent years. Woo!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I’d almost rather see a mannequin at first instead of Casey Kotchman, so this is still an improvement to me!

  • Duke says:

    As an Orioles fan, I will say that there will be weeks where you will wonder how in the world Reynolds came so cheaply and other weeks where you wonder if he needs Lasik. He is about as close to a poor man’s Adam Dunn as you can get.

    Oh, and when you guys play the Orioles, please put Reynolds at third. :)

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      He seems pretty streaky…like he runs extremely hot and cold. And I’m sure that Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch at least once against the Orioles, we don’t need to give you too much!

  • Leo O'Neill says:

    Awsome, the only other baseball fan I know follows Kansas. Was gonna lord it over him then they sign James Shields. At least no more weak tappers to the infield ala Kotchman. Hoping now they don’t price themselves out of the Cabrera trade.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      Every time Kotchman hit a weak grounder to the right side of the infield, it was like something was exploding in my brain. I honestly thought something would snap for good by the end of the season!

  • Steve Alex says:

    The Royals trade for James Shields and Wade Davis sure puts this move in perspective. Still, it was a good pickup for the Tribe. A right-handed 20+ HR hitter who is underrated defensively as a first baseman. His walk rate offsets the low BA and K’s somewhat, and he’s not pushing 40 or coming off injury. He also didn’t require as much of a financial commitment as I thought he would.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I think that’s why I like this deal – it’s relatively low risk. If it doesn’t work, it’s only for a year and you’re not throwing away much more than you did last year with Sizemore.

  • Cadfael says:

    I’m far happier today as a Tribe fan than I would be as a Royals fan today.

    • Drew says:

      The Royals are selling out the future for a shot at 2013. At least Shields is more likely to be worth a couple top-tier prospects than Ubaldo was.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I have yet to see a Royals fan pleased with that deal. I did see some concern from a few Indians fans, so that’s why I put together a separate blog post about it.