I’ve come to this conclusion and I wonder if the Orioles are thinking the same way: If they truly want Mark Reynolds to be their first baseman in 2013, they should simply offer him arbitration and guarantee he stays with the club through next year.
The Orioles must decide whether to offer Reynolds arbitration by Nov. 30 or they could non-tender him. That means no arbitration offer, with Reynolds becoming a free agent able to sign with any club.
There are estimates that Reynolds, who earned $7.5 million last season, would get around $9 million in arbitration. The Orioles have already declined to pick up his $11 million option for next year. But if offered arbitration, Reynolds will be an Oriole next season and then could be a free agent after the 2013 season.
Why not offer arbitration and live with the results if the sides don’t agree on a deal and have to go to a hearing? Reynolds doesn’t seem like a player that needs dollars to motivate him, but he would have that carrot of playing for his next contract (past 2013) if offered arbitration.
Some feel the estimated $9 million figure is too much for Reynolds. But keep in mind some of his key stats decreased last year and that the Orioles have won seven straight arbitration cases. It could be he would get less than that.
Either way, by offering arbitration, the Orioles lock up first base for next season, keep a player that played very solid defense there and retain the player that ranks eighth in baseball with 164 homers since 2008.
At 29, Reynolds could be coming into his prime years, and why try to fix a position that isn’t broken?
The Orioles could continue to pursue a multi-year deal with Reynolds and maybe they come to terms on that before the hearing dates early next year. If not, at worst, they have first base set for a year while they wait to see if Reynolds’ power numbers bounce back to normal levels. If they do, he’ll earn a longer deal from the Orioles and they can reward him with that this time next year.
The Orioles can non-tender Reynolds soon and perhaps save a few dollars and still be able to sign him. But they risk losing him if they do that. If the club believes in Reynolds as its first baseman, why not offer arbitration now and table offering him a longer deal for a year?