We had recently expressed some concern about the bench for the Colorado Rockies heading into the 2017 season. However, it appears that the Rockies took a big step on Wednesday to address that concern by re-signing Mark Reynolds to a one-year, minor-league contract.
The move boosts the Rockies in a number of ways, provided Reynolds makes the most of his big league camp spring training invite and lands on the Opening Day roster.
First and foremost, it gives them a right-handed bat off the bench. As we detailed in this article, the Rockies were looking at potentially having just Tom Murphy come off the bench as a non-switch-hitting, right-handed batter. That, of course, was the case if Murphy wasn’t already in the game at catcher.
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Second, the move gives the Rockies a backup true first baseman to Ian Desmond. Before signing Reynolds, it was unknown who might provide depth at first on Opening Day.
Third, it allows the Rockies to use the versatile Desmond in other ways. Desmond played outfield last season for the Texas Rangers but primarily played at shortstop during his seven seasons with the Washington Nationals. With Reynolds now able to enter the game at first base, Desmond can move around to other spots, giving Bud Black the ability to have multiple looks on defense.
While it’s no guarantee that Reynolds will make the Opening Day roster, it seems much more likely he will than he won’t. So how does that affect the potential bench players that we detailed in this article? We’ll predict that Raimel Tapia or Jordan Patterson now doesn’t start the year on the Major League roster. With Reynolds able to come in at first, Desmond can move to the outfield, giving the Rockies back-up help from him, Gerardo Parra and Alexi Amarista, who has seen time in the outfield in each of his six Major League seasons.
While Reynolds didn’t show the power last season that he has in previous years (hitting just 14 homers in 441 plate appearances), the 33-year-old did hit for a career-high .282 average and .356 on-base percentage.
“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.”
There are a lot of positives to having Reynolds back with the Rockies. It’s another solid move in an offseason that has shown Colorado is serious about returning to the postseason in 2017.