Reynolds is far from the kind of player I tend to like or gravitate toward. The man has struck out 834 times over the past four seasons—834 times! No one has ever done that in the history of baseball. No one! Reynolds has struck out more than 200 times in a season three times. Only one other player in baseball history—Drew Stubbs—has done it once.
So why would the Indians even want Reynolds?
Even though Reynolds has struck out in 33.1 percent of his career plate appearances, he also has other-worldly power. Reynolds averages 35 home runs per 650 PA in his career and owns a career .483 slugging percentage. His career wOBA is .351, which is just enough above average to make his high strikeout totals tolerable.
Sure, Reynolds strikes out way too much and is less useful than a brick wall in the field, but he is only entering his age-28 season and has the kind of power the Indians so desperately need. This isn't the sort of deal where the Indians would take on much of Reynolds' salary (he's owed $7.5 million for 2012), but if the Orioles payed most of it, the Indians should bite.
If the Tribe was willing to take on Kevin Slowey for $1.5 million, they should jump at the opportunity to have Reynolds at the same price.
You may be wondering how Reynolds would fit into the lineup. Personally, I would use him as the right-handed part of a DH platoon with Travis Hafner and a very occasional start at first base. His defense is terrible, but look what a Hafner/Reynolds DH combo could look like:
Hafner vs. righties: 110 G, 440 PA, .290/.393/.540 slash line, .933 OPS, .393 wOBA (144 wRC+), .250 ISO, 22 HR, 69 RBI 19.2 K%, 13.3 BB%
Reynolds vs. lefties: 52 G, 210 PA, .243/.370/.513 slash line, .882 OPS, .377 wOBA (127 wRC+), .270 ISO, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 29.9 K%, 16.3 BB%
Combined, it could look like this:
Total: 162 G, 650 PA, .275/.386/.531 slash line, .917 OPS, .388 wOBA (139 wRC+), .256 ISO, 34 HR, 104 RBI, 22.7 K%, 14.3 BB%
Considering how well that relates to a certain Giancarlo "Mike" Stanton's numbers from 2011, I'd say that's a pretty sweet deal. It's unlikely Hafner and Reynolds would hit that perfectly, but there would obviously be value to pairing the two up.
This move is unlikely to happen, but if it were (and the Indians were to avoid paying much of Reynolds' salary), I could get behind it. Used correctly, I think there's a good chance that Mark Reynolds' right-handed power could give the Tribe's lineup the balance it sorely needs. It would be rough to watch at times, but overall, it could be pretty useful.
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