We don’t normally see teams part ways with their home run leaders for nothing at this point in the season, but that’s just what the Cleveland Indians have done with Mark Reynolds over the past few days. The team has requested unconditional release waivers, permitting him to become a free agent as soon as he clears waivers. Cleveland had designated Reynolds for assignment last Thursday, allowing them to recall right-hander Preston Guilmet from Triple-A.
Reynolds totaled 15 HR before seeing his time with Cleveland come to an end, but did little else at the plate. He’s hit .215/.307/.373 in 384 PA on the year, striking out a staggering 123 times.
Having earned $7.5 Million in 2012 and due a raise in arbitration – despite batting .221/.335/.429 in 538 PA, with 23 HR – the Baltimore Orioles elected to non-tender Reynolds last November. He’d end up signing a one year, $6 Million deal to join the Indians and looked like a bargain through April. Reynolds burst out of the gate with a .301/.368/.651 line over the season’s first month, but he’s come crashing down after May 1st, hitting just .187/.287/.282 since.
Annually among the leaders in strikeouts, Reynolds has yet to recreate the success that he found at the plate in 2009 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He mashed 44 HR and had 102 RBI that year, with a .260/.349/.543 line in 662 PA. It was enough production to overshadow his MLB-leading 223 strikeouts and enough to leave many wondering whether he can hit that way again. Once Reynolds becomes a free agent another team will be able to sign him for just a prorated portion of the league minimum for the remainder of the season. He figures to draw at least some interest, given the potential power bat off the bench that he could provide to a playoff contender. Presumably Reynolds will end up available on the free agent market once again this coming winter, so it’s in his best interests to finish the year strong no matter where he ends up signing.