Mark Reynolds Rumors
We rounded up one set of free agent rumors earlier in the day, but as we approach late afternoon in Nashville, it's about time for a fresh batch....
- Recently non-tendered third baseman Jack Hannahan has a big league offer from an AL Central team, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It could be the Twins, who met with his rep yesterday according to Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500.
- The Mariners contacted Raul Ibanez's agent, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
- Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima seeks a three-year deal, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, but teams are hesitant.
- Takashi Saito, who turns 43 in February, would like to pitch another year in the U.S., tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- The Mets have considered the idea of signing Mark Reynolds to play in the outfield, but his price tag may be too high for their liking, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Davidoff also tweets that the Yankees have met with Eric Chavez's agent at the Winter Meetings and expressed an interest in bringing back Chavez.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that the Brewers have "definite interest" in Jason Grilli, but only at a reasonable price (Twitter link). Milwaukee continues to seek both starters and relievers, but doesn't have the money to make a play for someone like Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse, says Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Jeremy Bonderman, who is attempting a comeback, could have a deal in place by the weekend, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
The Marlins are among the teams that are showing interest in Mark Reynolds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Orioles non-tendered the slugger last week after previously declining his $11MM option in favor of a $500K buyout.
The 29-year-old Reynolds batted .221/.335/.429 with 23 long balls for the Orioles this year in a roller coaster season. Reynolds had just a .681 OPS on Aug. 5 before exploding to bat .284/.399/.610 with 13 of his 23 homers over the next 40 games. He then slumped to finish the season, collecting just six hits in his final 48 trips to the plate.
As Heyman points out, Reynolds would be a better bat to place behind Giancarlo Stanton than Yunel Escobar, whom the club is attempting to trade. The team has been said to be looking for a power hitter to complement Stanton in the lineup. Reynolds would certainly fit that description, though his poor defense makes him a questionable fit for NL clubs like Miami.
After taking a quick look at the latest notes out of the AL Central, we'll do the same with the AL East:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees continue to be in on Scott Hairston, but it will likely take a two-year deal to lock him up, and New York would rather avoid adding 2014 salary.
- Sherman adds in a separate tweet that a Padres official insists the team isn't moving Chase Headley, so he's unlikely to be an option for the Yankees.
- Nick Swisher is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Red Sox, but he may exercise some patience before agreeing to a deal, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford hears from a source that Swisher may wait to sign until after Josh Hamilton has secured a deal. The WEEI.com scribe also reiterates that Boston's signing of Mike Napoli hasn't taken them out of the running for Swisher, as we heard earlier today.
- Discussing Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery at an afternoon press conference, Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team will "become very aggressive" if they see an opportunity to upgrade at third base that makes sense (Twitter link via MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith).
- In his latest column for FOX Sports, Jon Morosi explains why he thinks the Yankees should pursue Chase Headley, and explores what sort of return the Padres could expect for their star third baseman.
- According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles GM Dan Duquette said on MLB Network Radio today that the club's decision to non-tender Mark Reynolds was made in part because the O's believed Reynolds could be in line for a salary of $12-14MM through arbitration. MLBTR was projecting a salary in the neighborhood of $8.9MM for Reynolds before he was non-tendered.
Here are the latest news and notes from the NL and AL Central divisions:
- Sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal the Reds like Dexter Fowler and the Rockies like Homer Bailey. Now the question is whether their mutual interest crystallizes into trade discussions during the Winter Meetings.
- The Brewers are prioritizing a left-handed reliever with the available free agent possibilities including Sean Burnett, Randy Choate, Mike Gonzalez, J.P. Howell, and Tom Gorzelanny, tweets Morosi.
- Cubs officials have yet to confirm or comment on reports of their signing of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. The Cubs, however, are willing to talk about their need for a third baseman, an outfielder, and pitching depth. Muskat adds the Cubs could re-sign third baseman Ian Stewart after non-tendering him on Friday.
- The White Sox and Phillies are the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of a third baseman, a source tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Kevin Youkilis is the object of both team's pursuit. Hayes writes the Sox may have to move another high salary in order to afford Youkilis and floats the names of Jeff Keppinger, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Chavez as alternatives.
- The Pirates feel they are better equipped to restock their bullpen, despite the free agency of Jason Grilli and the recent trade of Chris Resop, and may be interested in turning closer Joel Hanrahan into a much needed starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.
- The Twins plan to focus more on free agents than trades during the Winter Meetings, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. The Twins have already dealt their best trade chip in Denard Span and plan on keeping Josh Willingham, writes Mackey in a separate piece.
The non-tender deadline passed at midnight ET last night, and more than 30 new free agents hit the open market after their teams declined to make a contract offer. Our Non-Tender Tracker has the full list.
Most non-tendered players are fringe roster guys, but a few are established big leaguers who may have seen their performance slip or battled injury. In all cases, the team didn't consider him to be worth his expected salary in the upcoming season. Here's a look at some of this year's most notable non-tenders.
- Jair Jurrjens - Still just 26, Jurrjens is one year removed from a 2.96 ERA in 152 innings. He's battled numerous injuries (including right knee surgery) and pitched so poorly earlier this year that he was sent to Triple-A. That said, the combination of age and past performance gives Jurrjens some of the highest upside on the free agent market.
- Jeff Karstens - Karstens, 30, was limited to just 90 2/3 innings this year due to shoulder and hip problems, but he's pitched to a 3.59 ERA with a 1.7 BB/9 in 253 innings since the start of last year.
- John Lannan - The Nationals didn't have a place for Lannan this year, so the 28-year-old spent most of the season in Triple-A despite a $5MM salary. The left-hander has thrown at least 180 innings in each of the last five seasons, so he adds a reliable southpaw to a free agent class surprisingly short on that type of pitcher.
- Mark Reynolds - Power is hard to find these days, and the 29-year-old Reynolds hit 37 home runs just a year ago. He dipped to .221/.335/.429 with 23 homers this year, though he did produce a .258/.374/.525 line with 20 homers in 353 plate appearances from early-May through early-September. Although his best position is first base, a power-starved team could give Reynolds a look at third base given the shallow free agent pool.
- Geovany Soto - The free agent catching market is weak, especially now that Russell Martin has signed with the Pirates, so the 29-year-old Soto could become a popular target in short order. He hit just .198/.270/.343 in 361 plate appearances this year, but a year ago he put up a respectable .228/.310/.411 line with 17 homers. Enough teams need catching help that Soto should have little trouble finding a new employer.
- Brian Wilson - It's been two years since Wilson, 30, was truly dominant. He's coming off his second Tommy John surgery and posted a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings last season while his strikeout (8.8 K/9) and walk (5.1 BB/9) rates took big hits, but teams do love to roll the dice on formerly elite closers coming off down seasons and/or injury. Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle hears Wilson was upset after being non-tendered and has told people he will not re-sign with the Giants.
- Other non-tendered players like Scott Atchison, Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Pelfrey (coming off Tommy John surgery), and Nate Schierholtz have proven useful in various roles and figure to be relatively popular targets as free agents.
"It is what it is and move on. I'm excited to get out there and see what’s out there for me," said Reynolds to Ghiroli (Twitter link).
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 by declining the option, though he remained under team control as an arbitration-eligible player. Matt Swartz projected the slugger to earn $8.9MM through arbitration thanks to his gaudy power numbers.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
A look at the latest out of the American League East..
- We learned earlier today that the Yankees have not had serious talks with Ichiro Suzuki yet about a possible return and Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News adds that the club has yet to make an offer to any position player.
- The Red Sox inquired on Joe Mauer in September, October, and November and were repeatedly told by the Twins that he would not be traded, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB.com. If the Twins did have a change of heart, they would still have to work around the catcher's full no-trade clause.
- The Orioles have had absolutely zero talks with Mark Reynolds on a new deal for next year, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. Meanwhile, Executive Vice President Dan Duquette says that they'll be exploring a new deal with him between now and Friday, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter).
The latest links from around MLB...
- The Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rays are bidding for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger even though he broke his leg, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). The 32-year-old recently broke his right fibula, but hopes to be ready for action by mid-January. Clubs don’t consider the injury serious enough to stop pursuing Keppinger.
- MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons said on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch spoke with agent Scott Boras about free agent closer Rafael Soriano yesterday (hat tip: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter).
- The Dodgers confirmed the promotions of several front office members, including Logan White and De Jon Watson, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. White and Watson had been assistant GMs and are now vice presidents. They are both considered GM candidates within the industry.
- The Orioles aren’t expected to offer Mark Reynolds arbitration, but they’re trying to work out a new deal by Friday’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently examined Reynolds as a non-tender candidate.
- Jair Jurrjens is expected to be non-tendered and Peter Moylan’s status as a non-tender candidate remains unclear, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter).
While the Yankees get a lot of flack for stockpiling veterans, Joel Sherman of the New York Post doesn't believe that having an older team is inherently problematic. Older players can often clog things up for promising young players but in the Yankees' case, veterans are actually helping the club stall for time as they wait for Michael Pineda or Manuel Banuelos to bounce back from arm surgeries. Here's more out of the AL and NL East..
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes that the Mets can't overspend on David Wright or R.A. Dickey just to satisfy fans. The Mets are understandably more open to a contract extension for Wright than they are for Dickey and the third baseman's value is much easier to peg. Wright and the Mets can start from the Nationals' deal with Ryan Zimmerman (six-years, $100MM) while there's no easy comparison for a 38-year-old knuckleballer at Dickey's level.
- Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that the club should not be expected to go after "high ticket" acquisitions this winter and doesn't see them doing anything as major as the Blue Jays' mega-deal. The O's have been mentioned as a player for Josh Hamilton but ESPN.com's Buster Olney recently cautioned that they're not expected to be overly aggressive in their pursuit of him.
- However, the Baltimore exec wouldn't completely rule out a play for Hamilton or Zack Greinke, Bowden tweets. However, it doesn't seem like they plan on being serious contenders for either free agent given their financial constraints and Duquette's other comments in the interview.
- Also from the SiriusXM interview (transcript provided by Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com), Duquette discussed Friday's deadline to offer arbitration to Mark Reynolds. "If we bring back Mark Reynolds, that will help our ballclub," Duquette said. "If we don't bring back Mark Reynolds, I know we have some people in-house that are very capable of doing that job." On Thanksgiving, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes named Reynolds a non-tender candidate.
The Orioles declined an $11.5MM club option on corner infielder Mark Reynolds at the end of October, and as we approach next week's non-tender deadline they have to make another decision on him. With less than six years of big league service time, Reynolds remains under the team's control as an arbitration eligible player. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections have Reynolds at $8.9MM for 2013 if tendered a contract, but that dollar range still might be too high for the O's.
Speaking to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com after his option was declined, Reynolds expressed a desire to return to the Orioles in 2013. Still, he intends to survey the marketplace if the Orioles decide to cut him loose a week from Friday. Reynolds carries a poor reputation and UZR as a third baseman, but he seems to have settled in as a full-time first baseman this year. It's probably fair to say he's become close to an average defensive first baseman.
That brings us to Reynolds' bat. Clearly, the 29-year-old is a source of right-handed power. He owns a .475 career slugging percentage and is generally good for 30 home runs over 600 plate appearances. Reynolds also fans in about a third of his plate appearances, making him one of the game's foremost strikeout artists. Overall, his bat is a positive, but the low .200s batting average and league-leading whiff total is hard to stomach.
A one-year, $9MM deal would be a reasonable commitment for Reynolds, in light of Carlos Pena receiving more than that two years ago from the Cubs. Despite the recent acclaim, however, Reynolds does not carry the defensive reputation Pena did. I expect the Orioles to go in a different direction at first base, allowing Reynolds to explore free agency. He may receive some two-year offers, and as we saw with Melky Cabrera, sometimes a player decides a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If Reynolds prefers a bigger risk and potential long-term reward, he can stick to a one-year deal with no option and hope to hit .250 with 35 home runs while continuing to improve his defensive reputation. That type of season would allow him to cash in a year from now. Teams such as the Mariners and Indians, who have been linked to Kevin Youkilis, could consider Reynolds as a backup plan at first base this offseason.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.