On Thursday morning, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles are interested in shopping third baseman Mark Reynolds.
And as a Phillies fan who is well aware of their issues with infield depth, my first thought was: “Well...that would be interesting.”
And that's what Mark Reynolds in red pinstripes would be: interesting. Adding the homer-hitting strikeout machine wouldn't be the worst thing in the world (that was Wes Helms), but it certainly wouldn't be the best. It wouldn't even be good. It would be interesting. An experiment reserved for a mad man's laboratory, rather than a baseball field.
Reynolds, who spent the first four years of his career in Arizona before being shipped out to the Orioles before 2011, would address some of the the Phillies' issues. Most notably, he'd bring power to the team (he averaged 32 homers per season in his first five years), he's right handed and...then it all goes downhill from there.
He plays both third and first base, but not particularly well (by both traditional and advanced defensive metrics), he strikes out a ton (he's the league leader in strikeouts for four years running), he can't hit for average (.231 over the past four seasons), and he isn't skilled at getting on-base (career OBP of .331).
In summary, he is a defensive liability who, on offense, is a Three True Outcomes hitter. That is, when he comes to bat, the odds are that he will hit a home run, strike out or walk. Usually, it's the first two, but over the course of his career, his at bats have ended in one of the three true outcomes nearly 60 percent of the time. He'll help rack up a pitcher's strikeout totals, but when he makes contact, look out!
“What are the odds of him coming to Philly?”, you might ask. Slim to none -- and slim left town, as they say. First, he's owed $7.5 million this season, with a club option for $13 million next season. The club option is dismissed easily enough with a $500K buyout, but that would still require the Orioles to eat a large chunk of his 2012 salary. If that were to happen, it would mean that the Phillies would likely have to give up a prospect of some value in return. That's the second problem, because the Phillies wouldn't be keen to give up anything of value for a stop-gap player who doesn't do much but homer and strike out.
But, if the stars were to align and Reynolds did end up in Philly, it would certainly make for an interesting few months, in a side-showy kind of way.
To start, they'd stick him at first base, where he could do slightly more damage with a glove and more damage with the bat than Ty Wigginton would (assuming that John Mayberry Jr. is in left). While that would be his primary position, he could move across the diamond to spell Placido Polanco when needed, and he could serve to be a right-handed bat off the bench when Ryan Howard returns.
On offense, he's be good for 30 homers and would, if nothing else, provide a bunch of tape-measure shots when he isn't striking out to kill a rally. But hey, dingers.
Like I said, it would be interesting. He would bring more power than anyone currently slated to be on the Opening Day roster, and at 28 years old, he would go a long way towards combating the “the Phillies are too old!” narrative. So that's something.
Of course, this is all just speculation and conjecture from a bored blogger who has nothing better to do than envision the Phillies adding a Mendoza Line-esque hitter to the lineup. I guess that just means that baseball needs to get here, already.