Brewers “making push” to sign Mark Reynolds

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CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Brewers are “making a push” to sign free agent Mark Reynolds, who is said to be “leaning toward” signing with them. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also hears that a deal is close.

It was reported earlier this week that the Nationals had expressed interest in Reynolds, but he’d be a backup there with Ryan Zimmerman at third base and Adam LaRoche at first. Milwaukee is a much better situation, as the club has an opening at first base after watching Corey Hart sign with the Mariners. The Brewers have expressed interest in other free agents (James Loney) and trade possibilities (Logan Morrison, Ike Davis) this winter, but they haven’t gone anywhere.

Reynolds, 30, hit .220 with 21 homers and a .699 OPS in 135 games last season between the Yankees and Indians.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that it will be a minor league deal.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.