Cleveland Indians Reportedly Sign Slugging Infielder Mark Reynolds

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

The Cleveland Indians have been seeking a corner infielder throughout the offseason so far, and it appears that they've finally found their guy. reporter Brittany Ghiroli confirmed earlier rumors from CBS' Jon Heyman that the Indians signed Mark Reynolds on Sunday:

Reynolds has signed with Cleveland. One year deal. First reported by @jonheymancbs

— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) December 10, 2012

MLB made a note about the money surrounding the deal:

Mark Reynolds reaches 1-year, $6 million deal with @indians, reports @britt_ghiroli. Deal can reach $7.5M with incentives.

— MLB (@MLB) December 10, 2012

Reynolds is known for his home run power as much as he is for his strikeout potential. Even his best season, in 2009, can be summed up best by showing his 44 home runs and 223 strikeouts.

Last season with the Baltimore Orioles, Reynolds hit .221 with 23 home runs and 69 RBI. He made a very successful switch from third to first base for Baltimore last season, and, according to Heyman, he will play first again for Cleveland this season:

#indians planning to go with youngster lonnie chisenhall at 3b. so reynolds deal takes Youk off cleveland's board

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 10, 2012

This move makes the Indians more power-oriented and more versatile in the field. If Chisenhall struggles in his first season as a full-time starter, Reynolds can bump over and relieve him at times. Reynolds can also DH and Carlos Santana can play first base if need be.

Reynolds can be an unattractive option because of his strikeout rate, but that number has gone down in each of the last four seasons. In 135 games last season, he struck out 159 times. That's not ideal, but it's nowhere near the 223 he had in 2009.

He will provide a solid veteran presence on a young team, and he's a very good fielder. Because of his ability to play two positions or line up at DH, he becomes even more valuable to a team that was trying to fill multiple holes with one guy.   

Considering the money Cleveland paid to get him, Reynolds makes sense here. He's a solid insurance option for Chisenhall, and he allows Santana to play catcher on a full-time basis without Russ Canzler having to line up at first base.

He's still going to strike out his fair share, but Reynolds will make Indians fans happy too.