I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to write much. But I don’t want the site to go longer than 10 days without a new article, so I’m here to analyze the Mark Reynolds signing.
When I told my dad the Indians signed a guy who usually leads the league in strikeouts, he immediately assumed the Indians signed a pitcher. When I told him more about Mark Reynolds, my dad was turned off to the signing. He doesn’t understand why the Indians would spend 6 million dollars on a guy who barely hits his weight and has a batting average equal to his strikeout numbers. However, my dad doesn’t understand that Reynolds walks a lot, plays solid defense at first base, and that he isn’t Casey Kotchman. Reynolds has power and that is something the 2012 Indians lacked bigtime. If Reynolds hits 25 homers and gets on base 1/3 of the time, the $6 million will be very worth it. I’m not saying he’s a great first baseman, but he’s a lot better than anyone who spent some time there last season (i.e. Kotchman, Carlos Santana, and, yes, Matt LaPorta). Remember, this is a team that spent $6.25 million on Grady Sizemore and Johnny Damon last season. Remember, Sizemore missed all of last season while Damon was even worse than that.
What does this signing mean for the Indians? It means they have some money that they’re not afraid to spend. They have an offer out to Nick Swisher for approximately $50 million over 4 years, which would be the largest signing since that ill-fated extension they gave Travis Hafner years back. Something tells me that Swisher, a former Ohio State Buckeye, would perform much better than Hafner did in that deal. Swisher is a legit power threat and he knows how to take a walk.
Speaking of guys who know how to walk, Kevin Youkilis is still a free agent. Though the Indians signed a first baseman already, designated hitter is another major hole this team needs to fill. Either or both Euclis (The Greek God of Walks) and Reynolds (The Green God of Swings and Misses) could DH some days while playing first on others. Neither guy is too young, so some days DHing could really help them out. Youkilis is really considering taking a 2-year/$18 million dollar deal from the Indians instead of a one-year/$12 million dollar offer from the Yankees. This means Francona must have really had an effect on the guy back in Boston because most players (i.e. Shane Victorino) will take more money without blinking an eye.
That reminds me of the biggest intangible this team has, Terry Francona. Tito has been working hard alongside the front office to try and make this team the best it could possibly be in 2013. I’m going to call this “The Francona Effect” from now on. However, signing a few good hitters will not turn this squad into a playoff contender. Francona needs to develop his starting pitchers so that Zach McAllister (nothing against him, but a lot against his -0.5 WAR) isn’t the least of all starting pitching evils on this team in 2013. I’ve heard Edwin Jackson is a possibility, but guys more like Jair Jurrjens, Luke Hochevar, and Chris Capuano, among others, are more realistic free agent or trade options for this team.
If this team doesn’t fill all of its holes, there’s a possibility that 28th-ranked rotation is out there daily while Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler (or worse, Lars Anderson or Ezequiel Carrera) are in the lineup too often. (Hint: any more than 0 games for any of those guys listed in the last sentence is way too many. Yes, that even includes Matty L)
Let’s hope Chris Antonetti and Terry Francona are busy the rest of the off-season so this team will actually be good in 2013. Only time will tell if “The Francona Effect” helps us sign better players.
UPDATE: Youkilis signed a one-year deal with the Yankees for a $12 million Chanukah gift. He’ll play third base for them for half the season before getting traded to a contender who needs a bat. Unless, of course, Youkilis is worse than last season and he’s a liability for them before getting cut and/or traded for packing peanuts. But we’ll see what happens. I wish him all the best.
Part of me wants to analyze the pending Shin-Soo Choo trade, but I’m going to hold off until something is finalized and official. I’ll wait until this weekend for a new article on any new transactions.
I also failed to give credit where credit is due. I thought I was clever (and original) in coming up with “The Francona Effect” but it turns out Its Pronounced Lajaway beat me to the idea.