Mark Reynolds committed two errors yesterday to increase his season total to a franchise-record 26 errors at third base and he’s only started 111 games there, which has Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun expecting the Orioles to move him across the diamond to first base next season.
Reynolds had been playing mostly first base recently before moving back to third base yesterday, but his hitting will be a whole lot less impressive if compared to first basemen full time.
This season the average AL first baseman is hitting .271 with a .790 OPS while the average third baseman is hitting .244 with a .695 OPS. Reynolds is hitting .221 with a .797 OPS, so he’s been almost exactly average for a first baseman and 100 points above average for a third baseman. That’s a huge difference and sticking at third base would allow the Orioles to potentially get another big bat in the lineup at first base.
Of course, the potential offense lost by shifting Reynolds to first base might be worth the defensive gains. And not just because of his high error total. Ultimate Zone Rating, which takes into account all plays defensively rather than just the obvious miscues covered by errors, pegs Reynolds as 21.5 runs below average at third base this season and 10.2 runs below average per 150 games there for his career.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.