Thursday, March 10, 2011

MARINERS: Did the Mariners miss out on Mark Reynolds?

By Matthew Carlson

As much as we want to believe the Mariners are going to be a different team this season, the thought still remains: Where’s the offense?

We don’t expect to see great baseball (record wise) for the Emerald City this year. However, I don’t want to see painful baseball. I don’t want to have to rely on Justin Smoak to be our whole offense. I don’t want to have to place all my chips on Milton Bradley breaking out and hitting .300 with 30 homers. And I definitely don’t want to bet on currently injured Miguel Olivo carrying over his success from the Rockies. In other words, I don’t want the Mariners ship to sink again.

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Overall, I liked the offseason moves the Mariners made. They were small, but each had a good motive behind it. The veteran Jack Cust was signed to provide some pop and to DH. The M’s (in my opinion) swindled Brendan Ryan from the St. Louis Cardinals, a shortstop that hit .292 just 2 years ago. They also signed Miguel Olivo to give some security behind the plate.

Even with these pickups, you have to wonder if the Mariners could have made a trade for a man who has a reputation for two things; Homeruns and strikeouts.

Mark Reynolds.

When you hear Reynolds’ name, the first thing you think of is his strikeouts… Hundreds of them. Mark has been notorious for whiffing the last couple of seasons, setting the record for the most strikeouts in a single season. Twice. In 2007, he struck out 200 times, and then proceeded to break that record the next season by striking out 223 times.

With as many strikeouts as he gets, Reynolds does have some positives. He has the raw power of an elephant wrestler, smashing 104 homers from 2008 to 2010 (an average of 34 per year). He has an average of over 94 RBI per year, and a career on base percentage of .334. In 2009, he punched 44 gopher balls with 102 RBI and an average of .260 along with 24 steals. His power stats would have blown any Mariner clear out of the water last year, or the year before.

The Orioles gave the Diamondbacks two average, but young relief pitchers in exchange for Reynolds, David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. The fact that the Diamondbacks gave up relatively little makes you wonder if the Mariners could have traded for him.
So here’s the question: Should the Mariners have traded for Mark Reynolds? Was the strikeout king worth two relief pitchers?

The answer is no. I failed to mention that he had a .197 average last year which also came along with 211 strikeouts. Do the Mariners really want to stick a guy in the lineup that has a strikeout rate of around 40%? Nope. Yes, he might have been worth two average relief pitchers, but he’s not worth cramming into the lineup taking up a spot Justin Smoak or Micheal Saunders might have.

For those of you Mariner fans wishing for a little more power than last season, you probably won’t get what you’re looking for. Jack Cust might have a couple more homeruns than Russell Branyan, but in general the home run total will only jump up a bit this season assuming Saunders and Smoak improve.

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