Colorado Rockies Should Re-Sign Mark Reynolds at First Base
So what will the Colorado Rockies do about their need at first base this offseason? With the winter meetings approaching, we’re going on record to say they should sign a former member of the St. Louis Cardinals or a former Baltimore Oriole.
No, we’re not talking about Matt Holliday or Mark Trumbo here. We’re talking about a guy who has played for both of those teams … but also played first base for the Colorado Rockies last season. That player is Mark Reynolds.
The thought of someone else at first base, like a Holliday, Trumbo, Chris Carter or even Mike Napoli, has intrigued Colorado fans since shortly after the 2016 campaign ended. Our article on four options the Rockies could have at first base in 2017 has been one of our most-viewed pieces since it debuted.
Everyone is excited about what might be. However, maybe we should focus on the immediate past rather than a potential future? Reynolds was solid at the plate and in the field for the Rockies last season. Was he spectacular? No. Was he a nice fit for the Rockies? Absolutely. Was he enough that the Rockies should bring him back in 2017? Yes.
Let’s look at the offensive side of the things first. Reynolds posted a career-best .282 average and struck out 112 times in 441 plate appearances. That’s 25.4 percent of the time … but it’s also the fewest amount of times Reynolds had struck out in his career. The previous year in St. Louis, Reynolds whiffed 121 times in 432 plate appearances and posted almost identical numbers with Milwaukee the previous season.
As a reference point, last season, Carter struck out a league-leading 206 times in 644 plate appearances or a staggering 32 percent of the time.
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Reynolds also had a .356 on-base percentage, again a career-high. Drawing 42 walks doesn’t seem like a lot but compare that to Colorado’s Gerardo Parra who walked just nine times in 381 trips to the dish and it changes the perspective.
Reynolds also provided a solid presence for the Rockies defensively. I talked to Reynolds and Nolan Arenado about the first baseman’s defense last season for this article and you could tell it was something that was important for both of them to discuss.
This Arenado quote from that article speaks volumes…
“I always knew he (Reynolds) could handle the glove. I didn’t realize how really good he was until we had him over there but he’s done an unbelievable job,” Arenado said. “I’ve had some pretty good first basemen here with Todd (Helton) and Morny (Justin Morneau) and he’s up there with them. He’s made some plays and big-time scoops that help our team win. He’s been a big asset.”
Reynolds sported a .993 fielding percentage last season. He also saved Arenado and the other Colorado infielders countless errors because of his ability to scoop low throws.
Would there be more buzz for Reynolds if he hadn’t endured an injury-filled end of the 2016 campaign? It’s very possible. Let’s not forget that the absence of Reynolds forced everyone from Parra to Daniel Descalso to Stephen Cardullo to play first for the Rockies toward the end of last season. It wasn’t pretty.
No matter who the Rockies tried to put at first, no one could match the offensive and defensive positives that Reynolds brought to the position last season.
There are plenty of options for the Rockies at first base this offseason. However, perhaps the best one is the one who manned the position in LoDo last season and not the flashier names on the free agent market.
Next: Why the Rockies Should Look at Jon Singleton
If Reynolds can bring to the Rockies what he brought last season and avoid the injury bug that bit him hard in 2016, it could be just what Colorado needs to not only fill the hole at first base but also make a run at the postseason.