The Orioles didn’t try hard to keep Mark Reynolds, despite the fact that he expressed interest in staying in a Baltimore uniform. Reynolds signed with the Cleveland Indians back in December, much to the chagrin of many O’s fans. But how big of a loss will he turn out to be?
Reynolds’ production was down from his first year as an Oriole. He hit 14 fewer homeruns in 2012 and drove in 17 fewer runs. Despite the fact that his strikeouts were down, so were his walks. The Orioles were justified in not wanting to spend $11m for him in arbitration, but Reynolds’ 1 year contract with Cleveland is only worth $6m in base salary, with a chance for an extra $1.5m in incentives. Seems like a bargain now.
The Orioles have been linked to several big bats this offseason, but haven’t ultimately been real contenders for any of them. Adam LaRoche is still as possibility, though is looking like a long shot right now. While the Red Sox and Blue Jays have made tremendous improvements to their rosters, the Orioles have had a quiet offseason so far. Perhaps the Orioles’ front office has something up its sleeve, but if so, their plan isn’t apparent.
Looking at the Orioles’ lineup, having a healthy Nick Markakis will certainly improve the offense. Markakis spent two long stints on the DL last year, and while Nate McLouth did a decent job filling in at the end of the season, Markakis’ bat is much more respected and improves the lineup overall. J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters’ bats were inconsistent at best last year. Perhaps with more steady production out of those three, Reynolds’ bat won’t be missed quite as much.
No one expected the 2012 Orioles to succeed. Here’s hoping that the 2013 Orioles will be another Cinderella story. Either way, they’ll be missing Mark Reynolds’ big bat.