Mark Reynolds is reportedly interested in returning to Colorado for the 2018 season. The Rockies may or may not return those feelings. The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders recently reported that Reynolds would like to rejoin the Rockies if they will give him a major league contract. Here are some things to consider about whether the Rockies should want to re-sign Reynolds and what that move could look like.
Should they want Mark Reynolds?
Here’s the dicey thing about Reynolds. He almost certainly isn’t as good as the first half version of him that had us all rallying to get him in the MLB All-Star Game. He probably isn’t as bad as the second half version of him that fell back into his strikeout-heavy form, but there is a risk that, at age 34, that’s who he is and who he will be in 2018.
Reynolds will probably be somewhere in the middle in terms of his first half of 2017 versus the second half. In the right role, that can be just fine. The rub in 2017 came when the Rockies still needed Reynolds to start at first and thump in the middle of the lineup every day. As a part-time player, Reynolds could be an excellent fit and a veteran presence on a playoff team. That question about role is an important one though.
What would it mean for Ryan McMahon?
If it was McMahon and Reynolds handling first base duties, what would that look like? Would the team call it an open competition in spring training? Would they hand the job to McMahon? Would there be a platoon? Would it be some other sort of timeshare?
It feels like the path forward should focus on McMahon as first baseman. Reynolds reportedly wants a big league deal, but he might be fine as a bench player. It probably suits all parties to have McMahon playing the majority of the time with Reynolds as a backup, as opposed to using them in a true platoon. Pairing McMahon with a righty to handle first base makes sense, but it could potentially be a tricky needle to thread if the team plans to truly give McMahon the chance to shine.
Do the Rockies consider Ian Desmond a first baseman?
If the plan is to pair McMahon with a right-handed option who occasionally plays first base, the Rockies might already have an option on the roster. Desmond could presumably focus his time in the corners of the outfield and then fill in at first base as needed or if the Rockies are going with a right-handed heavy lineup.
One year after “Ian Desmond, first baseman,” the team might actually have a reasonable path to using his versatility between first base and the outfield. Reynolds isn’t necessarily a good fit if the team goes that route.
Who else might play first base?
This starts the exercise that really only happens with first base, the position we assume any player can handle. Throw out names and say they might play first. Pat Valaika? He says he’s ready to play first, although that seems like a bad idea unless it’s in the context of his utility role. Tom Murphy? Surely that’s a rumor that might crawl out if three catchers are doing well during spring training.
Gerardo Parra? You didn’t think I’d forget that one, did you? And if we really want to get weird, what about Carlos Gonzalez? We can hardly rule out his return, especially if the market seems to stay so cool on him. Maybe he would come back to play some first, or maybe he would return to play the outfield and free up the rag-tag combo of Desmond and Parra to help at first. That brings us to the last question.
Are the Rockies definitely done in free agency otherwise?
They certainly would be any other year. But with a stalled market and a nervous situation for players, there might be some bargains to be had. There are still players that would make sense; we just assumed they would be too expensive.
It’s unlikely the Rockies can spend any more on free agents, especially if they are going to get serious about extending Nolan Arenado, but we shouldn’t rule it out because we don’t know what the bottom is going to be for free agency just yet. If nothing else, the team might be waiting to see what happens before signing a veteran like Reynolds to a short deal.
What do you think?
Should the Rockies try to re-sign Mark Reynolds?
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