Today the Brewers signed 1B/3B Mark Reynolds to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. If he makes the team he’ll earn $2 million with a chance at another $500,000 from incentives. Regardless of what you think of him, that’s pretty darn cheap. My impression is they signed him to a minor league deal simply as a way to keep a spot open on the 40-man roster. I’m pretty confident that he’ll be on the opening day roster. They’re still looking for a reliever and probably want to wait as long as possible before DFA’ing someone off the roster. If they end up trading Rickie Weeks they might not have to do that at all.
Reynolds is a prime example of a three true outcome player. He’s either going to strikeout, hit a home run, or draw a walk. A lot of people are going to unjustly claim he’s awful because of his strikeouts. Don’t be one of them. He could very well be awful. He does have contact issues. But strikeouts don’t necessarily mean a player is worthless. When he hits, it’s for a ton of power. He also has some on-base skills. Last year wasn’t good, but he owns a career .329 OBP. It’s not great, but you can play with that, especially when you’re hitting 25 home runs. He doesn’t have huge splits, but he does handle LHP better than RHP. That would fit in a platoon with Juan Francisco if the Brewers want to go in that direction. Reynolds’ defense leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s better at first base than third base. Playing bad defense, however, is worlds away from not being able to play there at all. He’ll provide additional depth in case Aramis Ramirez gets hurt again. He could also help make Ramirez more expendable at the deadline should the Brewers look to move him.
I like this signing. Forget about the minor league aspect. It’s a formality. He’s going to be the starting first baseman. I might be more pumped about a platoon with Francisco, but I don’t think that’s their plan. The option is there though. They’re only paying Reynolds to be a little less than a 0.5 win player which is not a high bar. I really don’t see any way this could be bad for the Brewers. Even if he’s awful, which I think is unlikely, they could cut him and be out very little money. At this point in the winter I’m not sure they could have done too much better.