If you listened around St. Louis this afternoon after the Cardinals signed veteran bat Mark Reynolds to a one year deal, there wasn’t much optimism in the air. One would think the Cards just signed a guy to a long term deal and dumped a ton of money into him. Many are overthinking this smart low key addition to the team. Reynolds isn’t coming in to start 145 games. He isn’t wearing a Superman cape to the press conference. He isn’t going to replace anybody on the team in 2015. He is a component and supplies a much needed area of this team. Power. The raw ability to step off the bench and hit a home run. Unless you have been hiding for the last few seasons, the biggest threat off the bench for the majority of the 2014 season was Shane Robinson or Tony Cruz. The Cards have lacked a true threat in the late innings who has the recent experience to back it up.
Reynolds does strike out a lot. He once struck out 223 times in a season. He hit under .200 for a team in 2014. He has never been a high average guy. He isn’t going to dazzle people with his defense at first base. However, Reynolds’ skill set is power. For the last 7 seasons, Reynolds has collected at least 20 home runs. In a three year period(2009-2011), Reynolds hit 114 home runs. He has hit 20 plus home runs for four different baseball clubs. He has done it in a variety of baseball parks and on teams in each league. He is a 31 year mercenary who will play for at least three more teams before he retires. He isn’t here to save the day. He is here to supply the team with a power boost.
Since Albert Pujols left, the Birds have been short on power. I am not asking for the early Tony La Russa MV3 days to reappear but it’s never a bad idea to have a guy who can come off the bench in the late innings and pop a long ball. A hitter who gets all of it or nothing is someone pitchers fear and managers have to prepare for. Reynolds doesn’t hit lefthanders as well as one would like to suggest a split with Matt Adams, but he can still secure a few starts at first when Adams is on a cold streak or taking a DL stop. He is a backup over there that went missing when Allen Craig’s bat vanished in 2014. The best part of the Reynolds acquisition is the bench bat potential. With all due respect to Randal Grichuk and Xavier Scruggs, Reynolds has over 200 home runs as a major league hitter and that gives me a little more hope in the late innings.
Mark Reynolds is potential low liability and high reward. He isn’t a risk. Few 31 year old sluggers are a risk to a winning team on a 1 year deal. John Mozeliak didn’t mortgage the future by bringing Reynolds in and this doesn’t block young players like Scruggs or Grichuk from getting their shot. It’s supplying the team with a known threat.
Offseason signings require the right perspective. If you look at the Reynolds deal right, it makes a lot of sense.
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