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Mark Reynolds Rumors
MONDAY: The Indians have requested release waivers on Reynolds for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). Once Reynolds clears waivers, he will be eligible to sign with any team, and his new club will be responsible for only the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.
THURSDAY: The Indians have designated Mark Reynolds for assignment, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter). Right-hander Preston Guilmet, who had a 1.95 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings at Triple-A Columbus, will be recalled to take his roster spot.
Reynolds, 30, signed a one-year, $6MM contract with Cleveland this offseason after the Orioles declined his $11MM club option and non-tendered him in November. He earned $7.5MM last season, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected Reynolds to earn $8.9MM through the arbitration process, so his contract with the Tribe represented a notable pay cut.
Reynolds sprinted out of the gates at a blazing pace this April, hitting .301/.368/.651 with eight homers on the month. Since May 1, however, the slugger is hitting just .187/.287/.282 with seven home runs in 289 plate appearances. The former 16th-round draft pick has never been able to recreate his 2009 breakout campaign with the D'Backs, during which he hit .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers and 24 stolen bases.
It's been more than two and a half years since Mark Reynolds was traded to the Orioles from the D'Backs, but it was interesting to see each of the key players in the trade pop up in headlines last week. Reynolds was designated for assignment by the Indians, while setup man David Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Reno by the D'Backs.
Those weren't the only names involved in the trade, of course. Arizona also sent backstop John Hester to Baltimore, who sent right-hander Kameron Mickolio to the D'Backs as well. Let's take a look at each player in the deal and how they panned out with their new teams…
- Mark Reynolds: Reynolds was 27 at the time of the trade and just a season removed from the finest year of his Major League career. In 2009, he hit .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers and 24 stolen bases in 155 games. While he led the NL in strikeouts, the breakout campaign led to lofty expectations, of which Reynolds fell very short in 2010. Reynolds followed up his monster season by hitting .198/.320/.433, prompting GM Kevin Towers to ship him to Baltimore. With the O's, Reynolds hit .221/.328/.458 with 60 homers in two seasons before being non-tendered last November. He hit a blistering .247/.352/.532 with 15 homers in the season's final 52 games last year, helping the O's stave off the Rays and earn a Wild Card berth. But in 22 postseason at-bats, he collected just three hits and struck out 10 times. Reynolds' defensive limitations outweighed his power, as Fangraphs pegged him as a below-replacement-level player in Baltimore (-0.2 WAR).
- John Hester: Hester never appeared in a game for the O's, who ultimately released him last season. He batted .254/.324/.341 in 82 games for Triple-A Norfolk in 2011 and appeared in 10 more for Norfolk before his release and subsequent signing with the Angels.
- David Hernandez: Hernandez was outstanding for the Snakes in 2011-12, posting a 2.94 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 137 2/3 innings. He picked up 15 saves while filling in as the closer as J.J. Putz was on the DL in those seasons as well. However, Hernandez has seen his command worsen and his swinging-strike rate drop in 2013, leading to a drop in strikeouts. He's also become increasingly homer-prone, which explains the large discrepancy between his 5.59 ERA and 4.17 xFIP. He's controlled for two more seasons after this one, so he has time to sort things out and return to his status as one of the game's best setup men. Hernandez's 3.5 fWAR from 2011-12 ranked seventh among MLB relievers.
- Kam Mickolio: Mickolio was one of the pieces that Baltimore received in the Erik Bedard heist with Seattle, but he never caught on in Baltimore and didn't fare any better with the Diamondbacks. He appeared in just six games for Arizona in 2011, allowing five runs on 10 hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings. He was slightly better at Triple-A, where he posted a 4.97 ERA in 58 innings with the Reno Aces. Mickolio, now 29 years old, has potentially revived his career by posting a 2.65 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 over his past 98 1/3 innings of relief. The only problem for Arizona is that he's done it for the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Pro Baseball, as he was released following the 2011 season and signed in Japan.
Overall, the trade looks better for the Diamondbacks than it does the Orioles, even if neither of the key components is a factor in the clubs' current playoff pushes. Baltimore received some added pop to its lineup, but that power came at the expense of Reynolds' poor defense, limiting his overall value to the team. Shedding Reynolds' remaining $13MM in salary was a win for Arizona looks now to have been a victory in its own right, and Hernandez's presence tips the scale in their favor rather decisively, even if he never regains the form he showed in his age 26-27 seasons.
Click here for more entries in the Transaction Retrospection series, and remember that you can use MLBTR's Transaction Tracker to look back on trades and analyze them at any time. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Fellow AL East third bagger Evan Longoria discussed the recent PED suspensions in pointed terms, reports SI.com's Cliff Corcoran. Longoria's most interesting observations, however, relate to the possibility of the players approving (or even seeking) enhancements to the penalties for PED use. "I definitely feel the risk needs to outweigh the reward," said Longoria, who went on to explain that a 50-game suspension was inadequate. "[I]t seems more players are starting to come forward and voicing their opinion negatively about cheating and PEDs," he continued. "If it comes to this offseason or the next, where we have [a] formal meeting [take] place where everybody in the union is there, and we have keynote players in the game today speaking adversely, then policy could get changed. The penalties could get more severe because guys want it out of the game."
- GM Jon Daniels "did his part," according to Rangers manager Ron Washington. As MLB.com's Richard Justice reports, Daniels utilized a blend of aggressiveness and patience in scooping up two players — Matt Garza and Alex Rios — who Justice says were "probably the best" starter and outfielder available.
- If the Orioles are interested in the recently-designated Mark Reynolds, GM Dan Duquette isn't letting on. As Eduardo Encina writes for the Baltimore Sun, Duquette refused to comment on Reynolds, but did note that the O's "have a credible right-handed hitter in Danny Valencia, who is already on the [40-man] roster and would be available to us."
- Meanwhile, the Red Sox are not interested in Reynolds, according to a tweet from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. With power-first, strikeout-prone players like Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks already in the BoSox infield mix, the lack of interest from Boston is not surprising.
Here are a few links from around baseball's eastern divisions:
- As expected, the Blue Jays pulled back Mark DeRosa after he was claimed on waivers yesterday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted earlier today. The only team that put in a claim on DeRosa was under .500, making it unsurprising that the Jays ended up holding onto him. As Heyman explains, the club likes his veteran clubhouse presence and cheap 2014 club option ($750k).
- The Indians designated struggling slugger Mark Reynolds for assignment earlier today. His last employer, the Orioles, "do have interest" in bringing Reynolds back if he clears waivers, tweeted ESPN's Jim Bowden. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli characterizes things somewhat differently, but concurs that the O's "would have some interest" in Reynolds.
- As recently extended GM Mike Rizzo looks to right the Nationals going into next season, perhaps his most important task will be to find a replacement for outgoing manager Davey Johnson. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Diamondbacks coach and longtime Giants third baseman Matt Williams (who Rizzo knows from his days in Arizona) could be among the candidates. According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, three other candidates with current or recent ties to the team could also be under consideration: current Astros manager Bo Porter and current Nats coaches Randy Knorr and Trent Jewett.
The Blue Jays' 11-game win streak was snapped tonight at Tropicana Field in a 4-1 loss to the Rays. Jeremy Hellickson delivered seven shutout innings of one-hit ball while James Loney, Wil Myers (in his home debut) and Sam Fuld connected on three straight solo homers in the second inning. One more victory would've given Toronto a new franchise record for consecutive wins.
Here's the latest from around the AL East…
- "If it’s up to me, it’s very unrealistic," that the Rays would leave the Tampa area, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg tells FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, though Sternberg warns that "the decision can be taken out of my hands at some point" by Major League Baseball if the Rays' stadium situation isn't resolved. Sternberg discusses several topics in this wide-ranging chat, from his team's future in Tampa Bay to David Price and Evan Longoria's contracts to even the prospect of MLB returning to Montreal.
- An AL executive sums up the Yankees' decision about trading Phil Hughes as "If he’s good, why trade him? If he’s struggling, what will you get?", according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (Twitter link). Hughes hasn't pitched well this year (a 5.09 ERA in 14 starts) and will be a free agent this winter, though it has been speculated that the homer-prone Hughes could still be targeted by teams who play in pitcher-friendly stadiums.
- Mark Teixeira received a cortisone shot over a week ago but is "still experiencing soreness" in his right wrist, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including Andy McCullough) in a conference call today. Teixeira's lack of progress renews speculation that he may have to undergo season-ending surgery, though Cashman didn't want to comment on the possibility or possible future moves at first base until more was known about the injury.
- The Orioles are known to be looking for pitching help but since they aren't willing to move any top prospects or core players, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun thinks the O's will have to wait until close to the trade deadline "to see if they can get a bargain" since they currently wouldn't be able to find a true upgrade at their price.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko) that "we would have liked, in a perfect world, to have [Mark Reynolds] back" this season. "I know our guys liked Mark. He's a good teammate, a good guy, an easy guy to manage. We'd like to have had him, but it just didn't work out," Showalter said. Reynolds signed with the Indians last winter and took a .741 OPS and 14 homers into tonight's action, so while the O's could've used Reynolds at DH, they're very set at the corner infield spots thanks to Manny Machado and Chris Davis.
The Twins are piecing together a "promising future," and Miguel Sano, who is hitting .362/.457/.681 for Class A+ Fort Myers, is a key part of that, argues ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider-only). Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, has also played brilliantly in the minors, hitting .331/.436/.574 for Class A Cedar Rapids. Minor-league pitchers Kyle Gibson and D.J. Baxendale have performed well, too. Olney cites Peter Gammons' comparison of the Twins to the 2007-2008 Texas Rangers, who were about to emerge as an AL powerhouse. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- Mark Reynolds, who is batting .263/.353/.564 this season, could be hitting his way out of the Indians' price range for 2014, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. If Reynolds keeps hitting, the only way he'll still be in Cleveland in 2014 is if the Indians sign him to a contract extension before he hits free agency. Ocker also suggests that the Indians should sign Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis to multi-year deals.
- Yan Gomes' play makes the offseason trade that brought Gomes and Mike Aviles to the Indians for Esmil Rogers look like "a steal," MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes (on Twitter). Gomes has hit .273/.283/.545 for the Indians this season, and Aviles has also been productive. Rogers' meanwhile, has struggled out of the Blue Jays' bullpen.
- The Reds would like to keep Shin-Soo Choo beyond this season, Ken Rosenthal says in a video at FOXSports.com. Choo has hit .314/.462/.569 this year, however, and Rosenthal notes that the thought of shopping a hot-hitting outfielder on the free agent market this winter must be tempting to Scott Boras, who represents Choo.
Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish face off in a marquee pitching matchup tonight in Arlington when the Tigers play the Rangers in a battle of AL division leaders. Detroit could lose the AL Central lead with a loss, as the idle Indians are only a half-game out of first place.
Here's the latest from around the AL Central…
- There hasn't yet been any talk of the Indians pursuing an extension with Mark Reynolds, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes in a reader mailbag. Reynolds signed a one-year, $6MM contract with the Tribe in December and is enjoying a big season, hitting .271/.362/.581 and sitting tied for American League home run lead with 11 long balls. Bastian suggests that Reynolds is likely to test the free agent market in order to capitalize on his comeback year. Reynolds recently cracked Tim Dierkes' 2014 free agent power rankings, clocking in at the #9 position.
- Also from Bastian, Francisco Lindor has been on fire in Class A ball but the Indians shortstop prospect isn't expected to be in the Major Leagues until next season at the absolute earliest. In order words, Asdrubal Cabrera is unlikely to be on the trade block anytime soon. Though Cabrera is off to a slow start, it makes little sense for Cleveland to move one of their key regulars if they're in a pennant race.
- If the White Sox become sellers before the trade deadline, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago thinks Chris Sale might be the only untouchable player on the roster. Even Jake Peavy, who signed a two-year extension (albeit without a no-trade clause) with Chicago last October, could potentially be dealt for a big haul of prospects.
- Twins minor league outfielder Joe Benson is in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot, 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Phil Mackey speculates. Benson was ranked by Baseball America as the 99th-best prospect in the sport prior to the 2012 season, but the 25-year-old has struggled badly since.
- From earlier today on MLBTR, we heard that the Tigers were looking for relief pitching.
Here are a few notes from the American League …
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that his squad is simply "not good right now." He notes that, with so much going wrong, "it's awfully hard to look at one area or one person and say, that's the cure." After investing huge money in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the club was only able to afford a pitching corps that sits near the bottom of the league in all of the major, comprehensive pitching statistics. And, of course, neither Pujols nor Hamilton has performed as expected. The team admittedly entered the year "thin after the 25-man team and the 12-man staff," according to Dipoto, and that lack of depth was tested so much that the team was forced "to start drilling for oil." Now, in a comment that Heyman describes as being "perhaps ominous," Dipoto says that the team is left waiting to see what happens as players come back from the DL: "As we get healthy, we'll have a better chance to assess where we are."
- So far, the best free agent signing of 2013 has been the unexpected Mark Reynolds, tweets Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Indeed, Reynolds is tearing the cover off of the ball for the Indians. After tonight's game, he sports a .291/.367/.645 slash with eleven home runs, which he has accomplished in part by lowering his strikeout rate to a level (25.0%) that is well below his career average (32.3%). Whether or not he keeps up this pace, he appears very likely to substantially outperform his one-year, $6MM deal. Certainly, the Orioles are likely regretting the decision to non-tender Reynolds, who would be an unquestioned upgrade at the club's disastrous DH spot.
- Pitcher Colby Lewis of the Rangers, a prospective 2014 free agent, began his rehab assignment this evening with a two-inning appearance in Triple-A. According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter), Lewis stretched his 45-pitch limit over just two innings as he labored through a 32-pitch second and ultimately let in three runs. As MLBTR's Steve Adams recently explained, Lewis could earn himself a multi-year contract if he shows teams that his past durability can be counted on once more going forward. In an injury-shortened 2012, the 32-year-old Lewis put up a 3.43 ERA over 105 innings and registered 8.0 K/9 against just 1.2 BB/9.
The Indians announced that they have signed Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $6MM, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter). Reynolds could earn as much as $7.5MM if he reaches certain performance bonuses. With Reynolds manning first base, the Indians will turn to Lonnie Chisenhall as their starter at the hot corner.
Reynolds started the 2012 season slowly, but hit 15 home runs after August 1st, finishing with 23 homers and a .221/.335/.429 batting line. The 29-year-old struck out 159 times, but didn't lead the league in strikeouts for the first time since 2007.
The Orioles paid Reynolds a $500K buyout instead of exercising his $11MM option following the regular season. He remained under team control as an arbitration eligible player with a projected salary of $8.9MM, but the Orioles elected to non-tender him.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that a deal was imminent (on Twitter). Mike Axisa and Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Kim Klement/US Presswire.
It's been another major day of hot stove news, headlined by Josh Hamilton's deal with the Angels and Anibal Sanchez's forthcoming choice between the Cubs and Tigers. Here are some final items as we hit Friday…
- Michael Bourn's market has become hard to determine, though MLB.com's Richard Justice notes that the Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols signings have taught us that top free agents tend to get their paydays, sometimes with surprising teams.
- Nick Swisher has never seen the Red Sox "as a likely landing spot," reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston is one of several teams — including the Phillies, Orioles, Indians, Rangers and Mariners — linked to the free agent slugger this winter.
- Cuban players Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmys Diaz are both officially free agents, tweets Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, and 22-year-old shortstop Diaz were profiled by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez last month.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli breaks down the contract details of the arbitration-avoiding deals signed by Taylor Teagarden, Alexi Casilla and Steve Pearce with the Orioles, plus the details of Mark Reynolds' one-year contract with the Indians.
- The Diamondbacks are more likely to trade Jason Kubel than Justin Upton at this point, opines MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
- The Rangers may have lost Hamilton today but a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that the Rangers could potentially sign Swisher, A.J. Pierzynski and Adam LaRoche to upgrade their lineup.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the Phillies and Red Sox are planning to rebound in 2013.