Report: Indians to sign Mark Reynolds to one-year deal

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According to the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly, the Indians and Mark Reynolds have agreed to terms, with an announcement set to come early this week.

MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli says it’s a one-year deal worth $6 million that can reach $7.5 million with incentives.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman first reported the two sides were close to a deal.

Reynolds moved from third base to first last season and hit .221/.335/.429 with 23 homers and 69 RBI for the Orioles. He had his best season with the Diamondbacks in 2009, hitting .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers and 102 RBI. That was also the year he set a major league record by striking out 223 times.

The Indians were pursuing Kevin Youkilis over Reynolds, but either they grew tired of waiting on Youk or they think they can find room for both between first, third and the DH spot. While Reynolds is more valuable at first than third, Youkilis is still a capable third baseman. Youkilis is also being pursued by the Yankees.

Update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal thinks this takes the Indians out of the mix for Youkilis. He has the Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers and maybe others in on Youkilis.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.