Don’t look now, but the Brewers are lighting up the free agency market. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the Brewers are making a push to sign first baseman Mark Reynolds, and now multiple media outlets, including Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, have confirmed that the deal is close to done.
Reports indicate that Reynolds will be signing a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, but Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that he is all but assured of a spot on the major league roster.
Earlier in the week, Milwaukee signed outfielder Greg Golson and pitcher Zach Duke to minor league contracts with invitations to major league camp.
In 504 plate appearances over 135 games between the Indians and Yankees in 2013, Reynolds, 30, hit .220/.306/.393 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI. His 21 homers was his lowest total in that category since his rookie season of 2007, when he hit 17.
Much like Juan Francisco, another first base option for the Brewers, Reynolds is well-known for two things: striking out and hitting for power. Over a seven-year career, Reynolds has a 32.3 K%–second-highest all-time minimum 3,000 plate appearances–to go along with 202 homers and 162 doubles. He led the league in strikeouts for four consecutive seasons from 2008-2011, but also hit 141 during that stretch, the fifth-most of any hitter in baseball. Since 2008, he leads all hitters in strikeouts.
Reynolds makes his mark offensively, but struggles on the defensive end. Over 251 career games at first, he has a DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) of -16 and a UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of -18.5, per FanGraphs.
The first base job is still unclaimed for the Brewers, who lost Corey Hart to free agency, were unable to sign James Loney, and stalled in trade talks for Ike Davis of the Mets. Reynolds brings a right-handed bat to join the left-handed Francisco and fellow right-handers Sean Halton and Jason Rogers.
Reynolds will have the opportunity to compete for the everyday first base job as the Brewers are still searching for answers at the position that has been their biggest question this off-season.