Mark Reynolds Rumors
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- The Brewers have announced Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay made their Opening Day roster as a first base platoon. Both signed minor league deals within a three-day span in late-January. Reynolds will earn $2MM plus incentives while Overbay, in his second tour of duty with Milwaukee, will bank $1.5MM plus incentives. Reynolds leads the team in RBI's this spring while Overbay, mired in an 3-for-30 slump (all three hits coming after news of his promotion broke) is valued for his defense. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Brewers still have yet to make an official announcement regarding the status of Juan Francisco, who lost out to the veteran duo and cleared out his locker yesterday. The Brewers now have a full 40-man roster, but a spot could be cleared pending the outcome of Francisco's situation.
- With Craig Gentry being placed on the disabled list by the A's, Sam Fuld is expected to make the club as the fourth outfielder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. Fuld, whose minor league contract signed in February contained opt-out dates of this week and June 1, will earn $800K plus incentives. The A's will have to clear a 40-man roster spot before adding Fuld.
- The Cardinals have outrighted right-hander Angel Castro off their 40-man roster to create room for fellow right-hander Pat Neshek, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Neshek will earn $1MM from the deal he signed last month. Castro signed a Major League pact with the Cardinals last December after spending 2013 with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate posting a 3.48 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 19 starts and six relief appearances. Castro was one of several players mentioned by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes in his examination of the trend in signing six-year minor league free agents, with little to no MLB experience, to Major League contracts.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio opened Brewers On Deck, the team's annual winter fan festival, earlier today by announcing the signing of right-hander Matt Garza (#7 on MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents list). The four-year, $50MM contract also includes deferred money, $1MM per year in incentives, and a $13MM vesting option for 2018. The total take for Garza could total $67MM over five years. In other Brewers news and notes coming out of Milwaukee today:
- "I was expecting an open market, and that’s what I got. I’m really happy I’m a Milwaukee Brewer," Garza told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (Twitter link), in an impromptu news conference. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides a transcript of Garza's comments including this tidbit: Brewers fans heard about the deal before he did because he was attending his son's basketball game.
- GM Doug Melvin said the Brewers' interest in Garza dates back to the Winter Meetings and his addition provides rotation depth, but will wait until Spring Training to see how the starting five shakes out, Rosiak reports (Twitter links).
- Melvin told WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee the lack of draft pick compensation attached to Garza was a very important factor in the signing (h/t Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Twitter).
- Ryan Braun was in attendance at the fan event and continues to be apologetic for his actions which led to his 65-game suspension, writes Rosiak. "I don’t ever know if I could apologize enough for what’s occurred, you know?" said Braun. "I just continue to move forward and obviously I’ll be apologetic. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but I can’t. All I can do is move forward and make the best of the opportunities presented to me." Braun refused to divulge further details of why he was suspended saying he addressed everything last November at a team-sponsored food drive and "I think I addressed it pretty specifically in the statement that we gave (in August)."
- Braun also offered praise for his newest teammate, Garza, according to McCalvy. "I’m excited about it," Braun said. "I think he could be a difference-maker. Facing him over the last few years, I think he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. One of the toughest at-bats. Great stuff. Very competitive — a fiery competitor, which is something I think could benefit the whole pitching staff and our whole team."
- Mark Reynolds says he signed with the Brewers because of the starting opportunity at first base, playing in the NL, and the fan support in Milwaukee, Rosiak tweets.
- Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has yet to begin a throwing program, but he expects to be ready for Opening Day, tweets McCalvy.
- In response to a fan's question about payroll, Melvin said (as tweeted by Rosiak), "Ask Mark." To which the principal owner replied, "Wallet is a lot lighter now."
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets his approval of what Melvin and the Brewers have been able to accomplish this offseason: spent money on a starting pitcher, filled the hole at first base with a solid combinaton of Reynolds and Lyle Overbay, kept right-hander Tyler Thornburg (the Mets' reported price for Ike Davis), and their draft picks.
9:38am: Reynolds will receive a $2MM base salary and can also earn $500K worth of incentives if he makes the team, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Like Haudricourt, Heyman notes that Reynolds is a "near lock" to make the team.
9:27am: The Brewers have officially signed Mark Reynolds to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, according to Brewers director of media relations Mike Vassallo (on Twitter). The two sides were said to be nearing a deal last night. Reynolds is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted last night that while Reynolds was likely to sign a minor league deal, the Brewers had told him he would almost certainly make the club out of Spring Training and will be in the mix for at-bats at first base.
Reynolds, who is entering his age-30 season, was outstanding for the Indians in the first quarter of the 2013 season, as he slashed a robust .268/.354/.580 with 12 homers in 40 games (39 starts). From May 19 through Aug. 4, however, Reynolds slumped to just a .178/.274/.228 line with three homers in 59 games. That cold stretch led to his release in Cleveland. He eventually latched on with the Yankees and batted .236/.300/.455 in 120 PAs with the Bombers.
Reynolds offers the Brewers a potential everyday option at first base if he can rediscover some consistency at the plate, and he can also serve as a platoon partner for the lefty-swinging Juan Francisco at the very least. A career .233/.329/.464 hitter with 202 homers in 3947 PAs, Reynolds has long been an "all-or-nothing" type of hitter. He averaged 38 homers per season from 2009-11 with the Diamondbacks and Orioles but has also led his league in strikeouts on four separate occasions and still holds the single-season record for strikeouts by a hitter with 223.
6:27pm: MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers are looking at Reynolds to be their everyday first baseman. Rosenthal adds in a followup tweet that the deal is expected to be a minor league contract.
5:50pm: The Brewers are close to signing Reynolds, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
5:46pm: The Brewers are making a push to sign corner infielder Mark Reynolds, and he's leaning toward signing with Milwaukee, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The Beverly Hills Sports Council client could help the Brewers address their first base need.
Reynolds was said yesterday to be weighing offers with the intent to sign in the near future, though the Brewers are a bit of a surprising destination. The most recent reports on Reynolds indicated that the Orioles, Twins, Yankees, Nationals and Rangers were the most interested parties.
Free agent corner infielder/designated hitter Mark Reynolds has several offers in hand and is likely to take one by the end of the week, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. As Kilgore notes, the Nationals are among the teams to have expressed interest in the slugging 30-year-old.
Last we heard, the Nats were joined by four other teams that were in on Reynolds: the Rangers, Twins, Orioles, and Yankees. Though Reynolds was let go by the Indians after a rough .215/.307/.373 triple-slash over his first 384 plate appearances of 2013, he was better upon joining the Yankees. In 120 plate appearances for New York, Reynolds slashed .236/.300/.455.
Reynolds has prodigious power, having hit at least twenty home runs over the last six seasons. But with that strength comes a tendency to swing and miss; Reynolds has led the league in K's in four of his seven seasons. Reynolds has also graded out poorly as a fielder as well, though his baserunning metrics see him as average in that regard. It is worth noting, also, that Reynolds has a relatively minor career platoon split (.777 OPS and 147 home runs vs. righties; .834 OPS and 55 home runs vs. lefties).
Here is the latest on several free agent situations around the league:
- While not technically a free agent, Masahiro Tanaka can still be signed by any club that is also willing to pay his $20MM posting fee. Reports out of Japan indicate that the Yankees and Dodgers are the favorites to land the 25-year-old righty, tweets David Waldstein of the New York Times, with Tanaka's wife reportedly interested in landing on the West Coast. The Angels are also said to be among the top suitors for Tanaka's services, says MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (referencing a recent report from Japanese outlet Sports Hochi).
- The Orioles, Twins, and Yankees recently asked for medicals on righty Ervin Santana, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. (Links to Twitter.) New York appears only to be performing due diligence, says Rosenthal, who notes that Santana's flyball tendencies make him a poor fit at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the Twins seem unlikely to add another free agent starter, Rosenthal adds.
- There are at least five clubs that "have been in on" infielder/DH Mark Reynolds, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The teams include the Nationals, Rangers, Twins, Orioles, and Yankees.
- Right-handed starter Scott Baker has several minor league offers in hand but is holding out for a guaranteed MLB deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The Twins have not been interested in a reunion thus far, Wolfson adds.
- Another former Twin who spent time with the Cubs last year, right-handed reliever Matt Guerrier, is set to throw off of a mound on Friday as he rehabs from an elbow injury suffered late last year, Wolfson tweets. Minnesota is interested in potentially bringing him back, according to Wolfson.
The Orioles have some interest in adding both Delmon Young and Jack Cust on minor league deals, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Each player will be at the Orioles' minicamp tomorrow to see if there's a potential fit on a non-roster deal, according to Kubatko. Baltimore also has some interest in a reunion with Mark Reynolds, though nothing is hot on that front for now, according to Kubatko (All links to Twitter).
Young, 28, batted .260/.307/.407 with 11 homers in 361 plate appearances for the Phillies and Rays in 2013. He performed significantly better with the Rays overall, as he posted a .699 OPS (92 OPS+) with the Phillies and a .780 mark (117 OPS+) with the Rays. Young is regarded as a poor defensive player but has handled lefties well throughout his career and could fill a DH/part-time left field role for Baltimore.
Cust, who turns 35 on Thursday, hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2011 with the Mariners when he batted .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances. After a solid year with the Triple-A affiliates for the Yankees and Blue Jays in 2012 (he batted .243/.400/.442 in 114 games), Cust sat out the 2013 season. Cust didn't have a long peak, but he was very good for the A's from 2007-10 when he batted .247/.381/.457 and averaged 24 homers per season. In 2008, he paced the American League with 111 walks and also belted 33 homers.
Reynolds spent two seasons with the O's, batting .221/.328/.458 with 60 homers from 2011-12. However, Baltimore elected to non-tender him rather than go through arbitration a final time heading into the 2013 campaign. Reynolds latched on with the Indians on a one-year deal. After a blistering April, he cooled off and was ultimately released before signing with the Yankees. He hit .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers overall last season.
Mark Reynolds is unlikely to return to the Yankees, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets, citing a source who says the Yanks have only offered the infielder a minor-league deal. "He won't take that," Feinsand says.
Reynolds, 30, clubbed six homers for the Yankees in 36 games after they brought him on in August, compiling a .236/.300/.455 line in New York overall. While that OBP is a step down from Reynolds' .329 career average, it's generally a vintage Reynolds line: big power and a low batting average fueled by one of the game's highest strikeout rates. Some have speculated that the Bombers might try to re-up with Reynolds now that they can be certain Alex Rodriguez won't be manning third base for the club in 2014. However, it now appears that they're not interested in anything beyond a minimal commitment.
Stephen Drew is the top left-side infielder remaining on the free agent market, though the Red Sox extended him a qualifying offer. Michael Young is another option, and the Yanks already have Kelly Johnson in the fold.
Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees "top priority" this offseason after he decided to pitch another year, the hurler tells Sponichi (via an article by Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues). Kuroda says the Yankees approached him about an extension as early as August. As Axisa notes, the episode is another indication that the Yankees have abandoned their "no extensions" policy. Here's more Yankees notes, with a heavy emphasis on Alex Rodriguez, who will be suspended for the entire 2014 season:
- The A-Rod suspension gives the Yanks a much better chance of getting under the $189MM luxury tax threshold, but they'll also need to find someone to play third base, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News writes. While the Yankees have Kelly Johnson in the fold, he's played just 16 games at third in his Major League career.
- Other potential fits include Mark Reynolds and Michael Young. Reynolds, you may remember, played 36 games in pinstripes last season. There's also Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin of the Mariners, whom another source says the Yankees expressed interest in at the Winter Meetings. A trade may not be in the cards, however, McCarron says.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines the fallout from the suspension, noting that cases such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro indicate A-Rod has little chance of entering the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Commissioner Bud Selig can now argue that he's left the game "in a better place."
- While Rodriguez plans to take his case to federal court, Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York opines that such a bid is also unlikely to succeed. "Federal judges historically have little interest in hearing cases already settled in collectively bargained arbitration," O'Connor writes.
- Daniel Lazaroff, a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, says A-Rod winning an injunction that would allow him to play in 2014 "is about as likely as the 'steroid-era' players being elected to the Hall of Fame." Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times has more from Lazaroff in his column on the suspension.
- Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun expects a long court battle, which might be A-Rod's "only chance to preserve any semblance of a legacy."
The Yankees could soon learn the result of Alex Rodriguez's appeal of his suspension. If the suspension is upheld, they could turn to free agents Michael Young or Mark Reynolds as alternatives, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes.
If A-Rod isn't available, the Yankees do have the lefty-hitting Kelly Johnson to play the hot corner. Young or Reynolds, both of them right-handed, could platoon with Johnson, who could also play second base. Young hit .279/.335/.395 with the Phillies and Dodgers last season, and Reynolds hit .220/.306/.393 with the Indians and Yankees. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted last month that the Yankees had interest in Reynolds and Young, but since then, they've agreed to terms with Brian Roberts to help address their second base needs. That would appear to impact their plan at third base, since Johnson can play both positions.
Marchand notes that the Yankees are unlikely to make any moves at third until they know more about Rodriguez's situation, and they might not make any until after Masahiro Tanaka signs, whether that's with them or someone else.