Non-Tender Candidate: Mark Reynolds

Four years ago, Mark Reynolds appeared to be on his way towards establishing himself as one of the very best power hitters in the game by slugging 44 homers for the 2009 Diamondbacks. That effort earned him a three-year, $14.5MM contract the following Spring Training despite his record-setting 223 strikeouts. A 25-year-old third baseman with that kind of power is worth locking up.

Uspw_6489748Reynolds, now 29, has since been traded to the Orioles because new D'Backs GM Kevin Towers made an effort to cut down on his offense's swings and misses. He can still hit for power (37 homers just last season), but his performance has otherwise declined and coming into Saturday he was a .218/.332/.409 hitter (101 OPS+) for manager Buck Showalter this year. Reynolds' glovework has forced him across the diamond to first base on a nearly full-time basis.

This season is the final guaranteed year of that three-year pact, which covered Reynolds' final pre-arbitration season and his first two years of arbitration-eligibility. That deal includes an $11MM club option ($500K buyout) for 2013, but because he won't have six full seasons of service time, Reynolds will not be eligible for free agency should Baltimore decide to decline the option. He'll remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player. The O's could try to sign Reynolds to a cheaper deal – he's earning $7.5MM this season, a reasonably low base salary – or cut ties all together and non-tender him.

Power, especially right-handed power, is becoming increasingly hard to find these days. Reynolds is a one-dimensional player though, someone who will hit in the low-.200s and thus keep his on-base percentage relatively low. He's led the league in strikeouts in each of the last four seasons and has shown no signs of improving his contact skills with decreased playing time this summer. The Orioles are on the cusp of contention this season and $11MM is not chump change. They could decide to bolster their chances next year by saving cash, finding a more well-rounded player, and cutting the man with the eighth-most homers since 2008 loose.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

41 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: Mark Reynolds Leave a Reply

  1. mstrchef 3 years ago

    No way he gets his option picked up. The O’s have Betemit signed for next year, and he can play first. Machado is likely to be the regular third baseman for the next six (or more, hopefully) years. Reynolds has resisted being a DH, and he has shown himself to be an adequate if not above average defensive 1B. They won’t go to arbitration with him, as he would net a raise from the $7.5MM he earned this year, and he shouldn’t be getting paid even that much. I could see him as the regular first baseman in Miami or Houston next year, but that’s about it.

    • Rabbitov 3 years ago

      Betemit can play bench.

      • RFsnapple 3 years ago

        I agree Betemit is not a legitimate everyday option. At any position.
        No way the option is picked up, tho some team will give him a shot.

      • mstrchef 3 years ago

        I trust him to be a productive hitter more than I trust Reynolds, and he’s signed through next season at less than $2MM. That’s enough to put him ahead of Reynolds. My only problem with Betemit (ok, not the *only* problem) is that he has an option for 2014 that becomes guaranteed with 700 PAs in 2012/13 combined, and he’s already halfway there. Makes me nervous.

        • withpower 3 years ago

          You trust Wilson Betemit to be a more productive hitter than Mark Reynolds? Really?

          Have we learned nothing from Adam Dunn?

          • mstrchef 3 years ago

            Reynolds best season would have fit in as a normal Adam Dunn season. Reynolds is not as good a hitter as Dunn, he doesn’t walk as much as Dunn, and his power is not as consistent as Dunn. On the flip side, he’s not making $14MM per season like Dunn, but this comment wasn’t about salary. An expected Betemit season is better than an expected Reynolds season. Not in every category, but all around.

          • withpower 3 years ago

            An expected Betemit season will never be better than an expected Reynolds season. An expected Mark Reynolds season [his season averages before this year — after all, the only reason we’re talking about this is because Mark Reynolds did not have an expected Mark Reynolds season] would 32 HR, 86 RBI, and 67 BB.

          • mstrchef 3 years ago

            We disagree on what a better season is. I would argue that all that power and moderate walk totals are severely tempered by the .238 average and 193 Ks. Betemit obviously has some flaws as well, seeing as he’s never had 400 ABs in a season. He doesn’t hit lefties well, but his career OPS+ of 105 is not that far short of Reynolds’ 109.

            I’m not saying Betemit is clearly a better player than Reynolds. I am saying that he’s a better hitter and a more consistent offensive player. And… since it’s tough to ignore, Reynolds is making about 4 times what Betemit is.

          • withpower 3 years ago

            Yes, we absolutely disagree on what a better season is. Wilson Betemit will never have 400 ABs in a season because he isn’t good enough to warrant it. He can’t hit lefties.

            Mark Reynold’s walk totals are not “moderate”. He’s at a 11.7% clip for his career, decisively above average. His power is plus plus. Home runs are home runs, no matter the batting average or the method by which you make your outs. Considering both buys have pretty much identical OBPs [despite Reynolds hitting 30 points lower career average wise and having nearly 1300 more plate appearances over 4 less seasons] it isn’t like Wilson Betemit is statistically better than Mark Reynolds at not making outs.

            So what is Wilson Betemit statistically better than Mark Reynolds at doing? Well.. nothing.

        • Quizicat 3 years ago

          Buttermitt is an awful 1B. He has a slightly better average, but if you factor in Defense, he isn’t worth it. He is easily replaced.

          • mstrchef 3 years ago

            Not factoring in defense. Was talking about offensive production.

        • Shawn Baublitz 3 years ago

          You do know he lead the team in RBI and Walks last year in a lot less PAs and in the 7/8 slot in the line up. This year he has twice as many walks as AJ with 150 less PAs. Oh and he leads the club in walks again. And more RBI’s then Betemit even though he has had a lower spot in the line up and less ABs.

          • mstrchef 3 years ago

            Yes. All this is definitely true. I just believe that Betemit is more likely to have an “average” season than Reynolds, and I believe that an average Betemit season is better than an average Reynolds season.

    • I think they’ll give Machado a shot at SS before they move him to 3B

      • Max Pogacar 3 years ago

        Um… you missed something. He’s already playing 3B and JJ Hardy is playing a mean defensive SS and isn’t going anywhere… Still, I like the thought?

        • I don’t think it’s guaranteed Machado is in the majors in 2013 and they’re not going to just give up on him playing SS. His bat at SS would be tremendous considering all the awful offensive players playing at SS

          • mstrchef 3 years ago

            True, Machado might go back to the minors to start 2013. However, Hardy is one of the best defensive SS in the game and he’s signed through 2014. His bat plays at SS but doesn’t at third.

            If Machado turns into a great 3B, the O’s might give up on him at SS since they have already moved Schoop over there in AA (his natural position).

    • Lookouts400 3 years ago

      He is far more than just adequate. C’mon, chef, you watch the games, are you going to sit there and tell me that you think Reynolds is just “adequate” at first? I have the game package online, and I’m here to tell you and everyone else, that no other 1B in the game makes as many plays as consistently as Reynolds does. That being said, he’s being paid for power and run production and so far, he’s been lacking. But, as I’m sure you saw on the MASN telecast last night, Reynolds leads the Orioles in RBI since the break.

      • mstrchef 3 years ago

        Nope, that’s not what I said. I said “he has shown himself to be an adequate if not above average defensive 1B”. He is at a minimum an adequate defensive 1B. On his good days he’s an above average defensive 1B. He is getting better there as he plays more. I don’t think he’s a gold glover, but the way he is developing, he very well could be. Right now, I think he’s transformed himself into Carlos Pena. I’m just not convinced that Pena or Reynolds should be getting $11MM per year. If Reynolds would take another contract for about $7MM, then I’d love to have him around. Otherwise, it’s time to upgrade.

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

          ” Right now, I think he’s transformed himself into Carlos Pena.”

          Except Pena is one of the finest fielding 1b in the AL, behind Kotchman, Gonzalez, Morneau and tex. Everyone else is in the dust.

        • Lookouts400 3 years ago

          OK, I stand corrected.

          I do agree with you, eleven million is too much, but if he will come back at seven, or even two at 12, as has been mentioned, yes, I would love to have him. I could definitely see an Adam Dunn type turn around. Dunn hit his 35th last night, just think if Reynolds had that many with the Orioles this year, with the corresponding increase in RBI.

  2. Reynolds is not worth that option, IMO.

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      In other news, Evan Longoria is signed to a team-friendly contract. :-)

      • mstrchef 3 years ago

        In other news, Longoria signed that contract after 7 days of major league service.

  3. Blue387 3 years ago

    I could see the Orioles re-signing him to a smaller contract. I also wonder if it were possible he could cut down on his strikeouts and induce more contact.

    • if that was possible don’t you think he’d already be doing it?

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      I think he’s always going to be MarKKK Reynolds. He did hit an opposite field homer this past week, and replays showed he watched the ball hit the bat, so I’m encouraged that his work with Jim Presley is paying off.

      Have always wondered how a career .240 hitter who never struck out less than 100 times or walked more than 50 times in a full season could be an effective hitting coach.

  4. Carl Langley 3 years ago

    The Orioles would be foolish to pick up that option…and they won’t. But, at the same time, they would be foolish not to negotiate a new mutli-year contract that is much smaller and guarantees Reynolds security. There’s no reason why Reynolds should turn down, say, a 2-year/$12 mil contract. And it would benefit the Orioles with the defense he plays at 1st base and his potential power surge. It could be a win for both sides.

    For those of you that don’t pay attention, Mark Reynolds play at 1st base is easily as good as Mark Teixeira. Just watch it.

    • withpower 3 years ago

      I think Mark Reynolds can do better than 2 for $12MM. Maybe not much better, but I think he’ll find a deal that tops it.

    • The weird thing I find about Reynolds is, a lot of Orioles fan like/love his defense, yet fangraphs says he is absolutely terrible. -11 uzr/150 this year and -18 uzr/150 for his career at first base.

      You claim he is as good as teix, fangraphs says he might be the worst in baseball.

  5. basemonkey 3 years ago

    I think we’ll see Reynolds get the same treatment as we saw Duquette work with Luke Scott, that is, he’ll get released. A low risk deal might be offered if the 1B market is thin, as a last resort, but I’d say we’d see Duquette lean on his scouts and try to find a few diamonds in the rough first. I could see him sign several 1b options and try to keep as many as possible in the org. The bad OBP-performers (his preferred stat) on the current team are holdovers from the previous regime.

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      Reynolds is a good OBP performer relative to his batting average. If he could hit .240 and maintain his walk rate, his OBP would be over .350. As it is, he’s 3rd on the team in OBP among regulars, behind only Markakis and Jones who are hitting 70 points higher.

  6. Brian 3 years ago

    Pretty much a righthanded Adam Dunn, which isn’t too bad of a thing to have. He’s having kind of a down year, but that kind of power is hard to find these days. If they intend on keeping him at all, they better pick up that option since on the open market, there’s almost no way they’d be able to get him back without making it a multi-year deal.

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      I think they decline it and take their chances. If there is another team in baseball that thinks MarKKK is a $10MM player, they can have him.

    • Rabbitov 3 years ago

      He’s a right handed Carlos Pena, Dunn is not a good comparison.

  7. Baloo 3 years ago

    I think the O’s should just negotiate his contract in the off-season. Mark Reynolds makes some great scoops at 1st, and he’s simply just having an off-year as far as power goes. Betemit is much older and simply not worth it anymore. His defense is absolute trash.

  8. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

    I have always had a soft spot for Mark Reynolds. God love him, he tries so hard and cares so much. Having said that, I would not pay him 11 million, and I don’t think anyone would. But maybe I work out a longer deal for less money if he’ll go for it. I guess it depends on what Orioles management thinks of his efforts and who they have in the minors, but I kind of like Mark Reynolds for them.

  9. I had to look up his salary for this season to realize why this is a possibility—his qualifying offer would have to be at least $7.5M. That makes him pretty much a certainty to be non-tendered (with the option declined). I think that he’ll re-sign at a lower amount.

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      They could offer him salary arbitration. He does have one year left before free agency. I think I need to pop on to MLBTR chat on Wednesday and ask what kind of arb salary they think he could get (assuming his option is not picked up and he is not non-tendered).

  10. camerondatzker 3 years ago

    Mark Reynolds can hit 30-40 homers a year and if you put this guy on a winning club he will play up to his capabilities. I wish The Giants could put a claim on this guy and put him at 1st base and Brandon No Promise Belt back to Fresno.

Leave a Reply