ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BaseballStL) - By now, just about everyone is aware the Cardinals have signed 1st baseman Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract reportedly worth $2 million. GM John Mozeliak has been very upfront this winter about finding a right-handed bat that can play first base and possibly platoon with Matt Adams.
Reynolds gives them just that.
This signing feels like a gigantic boom or bust for me. There’s a lot to like and a lot to, well, dislike about the 31-year old who spent 2014 with the Brewers.
First the good:
The man can hit home runs. For a team that’s starved for power and is basing its offensive improvement on a guy that hit just 11 homers a year ago (see: Heyward, Jason) this signing makes complete and total sense. Reynolds even at his worst will hit balls out of the park. He hasn’t failed to hit 20 since his rookie season back in 2007. That’s seven straight 20-home run campaigns.
It’ll be the first time in a while the Cardinals will have someone come off the bench with that sort of a reputation. You KNOW this guy can hit bombs. He’s done it for too long and at just 31-years-old there’s no reason to believe he won’t be able to do that again this season.
Now for the bad:
For all the homers Reynolds hits he makes an awful lot of outs. Most people focus on the strikeouts (1,398 in his career and never fewer than 100 in a season) but I’m more concerned about the batting average. He’s just a .229 career hitter in 1,118 at-bats and was at just .196 for the Brewers last season. That’s not good.
Reynolds will actually take a fair amount of walks but when the batting average is so low even walking a lot won’t get his OBP to a fair level (.287 last year and .306 the year before that).
The Cardinals are basically saying they’ll gladly take several unproductive outs in exchange for a terrific home run rate. How this will play out with the Cardinals remains to be seen. In a perfect world, Reynolds won’t be needed much in the starting lineup. This is a big year for Matt Adams to prove he’s the long term solution at that position and with a little bit of luck maybe he’ll prove he deserves to start against lefties more often.
Maybe Reynolds can be a better version of what Ty Wigginton was supposed to be in 2013. The thing is, Reynolds was actually WORSE against lefties this past season than he was righties if you can believe that. His .196 average broke down into .204 against righties in 280 at-bats and .173 against lefties in 98 Abs.
Isn’t lefties mostly when Reynolds will play? At least that’s when he’s supposed to start anyway.
I could see this signing working out two different ways. I could see this being a major coup for just $2 million to get a quality bench bat who makes teams a little scared late in games and hits 20 home runs in a complementary role.
I could also see this being a mistake in the sense that – yes, Reynolds will hit some home runs – but his strikeout and overall unproductive out rate will overshadow the balls he hits out of the park. However, for just a couple million dollars, the risk the Cards are taking is extremely low.
It’s a very good signing when you boil it down to the price because if this doesn’t work it’s not like the team invested significant resources. They could easily bury Reynolds on the bench and not put him in critical situations or simply find someone else like Stephen Piscotty.
I like it. It’s definitely worth a shot given how much they paid.