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.
The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.
Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.
The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.