Another player has been added to the third baseman market, as the Baltimore Orioles did not offer a contract to third baseman Mark Reynolds, making him a free agent.
This is semi-significant news for the Phillies, because as you know, third base is one of the bigger holes they have to fill this off-season. With no heavy hitters on the open market, the odds are great that the Phillies would have stuck with Kevin Frandsen (perhaps in a platoon role with Eric Chavez, for instance), or would sign someone like Kevin Youkilis as a short-term solution.
But with youngster Manny Machado ready to take the reigns at third base in Baltimore, Reynolds became expendable, and that is good news for the Phillies. Not only can he man the hot corner on the field, he can also add some pop to a lineup that is in desperate need of power from the right side. Since coming into the league in 2007, the 29-year-old has averaged 34 homers a year.
Reynolds' power comes at a cost, however. He's led all Major Leaguers in strikeouts, averaging more than 200 per season since he came into the league. While strikeouts do have a certain stigma attached to them, especially compared to other types of outs (groundouts, fly outs, etc.), it really shouldn't matter too much if you can add an extra 25 home runs to the lineup.
While Reynolds will make everyone miss Placido Polanco's glove at third, his defense isn't so bad that it would make for an awful signing at the right price. He also brings along with him the ability to play first base, making him an interesting candidate to platoon with Ryan Howard when facing a tough left-handed starting pitcher, as he handles lefties (.857 OPS) much better than righties (.789 OPS) over his career.
Of course, he would only make sense if the money was right. He earned $7.5 million with the Orioles in 2012, and probably would have received a raise had he entered arbitration with Baltimore. That $7.5-million mark figures to be the going-rate for him on the open market. If he can be had for similar money (or perhaps less) on a one-year deal, then Mark Reynolds very well may be a legitimate option for the Phillies at the hot corner.