DENVER -- Veteran Mark Reynolds said Wednesday that he has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rockies, for whom he hit 44 home runs and drove in 150 runs between 2016-17. Reynolds will be invited to Major League camp. The club has not confirmed the deal.Last year, Reynolds,
DENVER -- Veteran Mark Reynolds said Wednesday that he has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rockies, for whom he hit 44 home runs and drove in 150 runs between 2016-17. Reynolds will be invited to Major League camp. The club has not confirmed the deal.
Last year, Reynolds, 35, didn't land a deal until April 17, when he signed with the Nationals. He appeared in 86 Major League games, including a memorable 10-RBI performance against the Marlins on July 7, and batted .248 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs.
The Rockies watched Reynolds bat .274 with a .354 on-base percentage (his highest numbers in those categories with the eight teams he has played for in 12 seasons). In 2017, he tied for the longest average distance of any hitter with at least 20 round-trippers, per Statcast™. Colorado alerted Reynolds' agent during the Winter Meetings that it was interested. Reynolds said he had interest from other clubs, but he spoke with general manager Jeff Bridich and manager Bud Black, and through his representatives had an agreement in about 90 minutes.
"I just told them, 'Look, I want to help a contender win games,'" said Reynolds, who has 294 career homers. "I don't know what my role is going to be. It could be spot-starting or coming off the bench and trying to hit a homer off a closer, which is always fun."
Colorado also hopes Reynolds' resurgence against left-handed pitchers continues. In 2017, he hit just .231 in 143 at-bats against lefties. Last season with the Nats, however, he surged to .309 in 68 at-bats.
Reynolds could fill a right-handed pinch-hit role, a la Matt Holliday last September. Or he could push for starts. Both years with Colorado, Reynolds came to camp on such a make-good deal, and wound up the Rockies' primary first baseman. Six-time National League Gold Glove Award-winning third baseman Nolan Arenado credited Reynolds' ability to handle throws in the dirt for part of his success.
This winter, Colorado reached a two-year contract with left-handed-hitting Daniel Murphy, a teammate of Reynolds in Washington, to play first base. Reynolds offers insurance there, but he has extensive experience at third base and has made seven appearances at second base and 13 in the outfield, spread among the positions.
Should Reynolds win a roster spot in a bench role, it would represent a different plan for the Rockies than 2018. The team began the year with younger players such as left-handed-hitting Ryan McMahon and Mike Tauchman, and right-handed-hitting Pat Valaika in reserve roles. Later, they used right-handed-hitting Noel Cuevas. All bounced between the Majors and Minors last year, although McMahon played well enough to earn a postseason roster spot and earn consideration for the starting job at second base this year.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002.