The Cardinals are leaving the winter meetings with an additional player on the roster; the team has signed first baseman Mark Reynolds to a contract Thursday afternoon. He’s receiving a 1 year, $2M contract.
Reynolds fills 2 needs for the Cardinals; a right handed bat off the bench and a source of power. The down side is he doesn’t hit for average and he’ll strikeout in 30% of his at bats. Last season, Reynolds belted 22 homers in 463 plate appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers, while slashing .196/.287/.394; he struck out 122 times and walked 47.
For his career, he’s a .229/.324/.409 hitter with 224 career homers with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Brewers. He’s split time between first and third base, with a few games in the outfield.
The ideal situation for the role that Reynolds is filling would be a guy to play against lefties at first base; Matt Adams has struggled against lefties not named Kershaw, and a platoon was most likely going to be instituted. Reynolds doesn’t fit that profile though.
For his career, he’s a .231/.351/.458 hitter against lefties and .229/.314/.457 against righties; nearly a third of his career at bats are against righties. In 2014, Reynolds struggled against lefties more than righties; he slashed .173/.277/.296 versus lefties and .204/.291/.429 versus righties in the same proportion of at bats for his career. Only 3 of his 22 homers came against left handed pitching.
Defensively he’s not very good either, even if his 2014 was better than his career numbers; granted, he didn’t start playing first base regularly until 2012 so he could be improving as he gets more comfortable. His career Ultimate Zone Rating for first base is -6.6; last year it was 5.6.
His WAR has fluctuated over the last few years; he’s worth 9.6 wins over his career, with 1.6 coming last season. His peak was 2009, when he was worth 3.1 wins.