The infield for the 2014 New York Yankees is one of the team’s biggest question marks. It became cloudier on Thursday night when the team found out that Mark Reynolds was not going to come back next season. Reynolds has signed a minor-league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Jon Heyman tweeted earlier today that the Brewers will give him $2 million with $500K in performance bonuses if he makes the team.
In a market that was thin at the corner infield spots, Reynolds was highly coveted by many teams for his versatility at both first and third base. You could say Reynolds did a good job in the second half last season with the Yankees as he contributed six home runs, 19 RBI’s, and a .236/.300/.455 split in 120 plate appearances.
The Yankees didn’t seem as interested in bringing him back as originally thought considering they were only willing to offer him a minor league contract, according to some reports. So, why would Reynolds choose the Brewers? I spoke with Reviewing The Brew’s senior staff writer Benjamin Orr to get the inside scoop.
“Reynolds might have felt like he would have more of a chance in Milwaukee simply due to their desperation for a first baseman. The Brewers don’t have much depth for the position outside of Juan Francisco and Sean Halton. Perhaps Reynolds felt in New York or Washington that he wouldn’t get as much playing time. Considering how cheap the Brewers signed him for, I’m guessing it was an issue on playing time and not the money.”
Benjamin brings up a great point because it seems to be a lock that Reynolds is going to make the team at first base. He brings a veteran presence to the team that needs more power in a hitter-friendly ballpark. At the worst, he will be a platoon player with lefty Juan Francisco. In the National League, he can also be a valuable bat off the bench in pinch-hit situations. This would fit his boom-or-bust mentality considering he has recorded 120+ strikeouts every season. With the Yankees, the only times he would play is at third base in a platoon spot because the designated hitter spot is in a logjam.
Where do the Yankees go from here? Well, it doesn’t look like the team is going to add another infielder via free agency. They are going to try a platoon of Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez at third base and hope Brian Roberts stays healthy at second base.