With less than 12 hours before tonight’s midnight tender deadline, Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said he hasn’t heard from the club regarding his future with the team.
The Orioles have until midnight to tender the 29-year-old Reynolds a contract in his final year of arbitration eligibility. If they don’t, he will become a free agent, open to negotiate with any team. The Orioles could still negotiate with him, but would risk losing him amid a weak first baseman free-agent market.
As of this afternoon, Reynolds had heard nothing.
“I’m assuming that that means that I’m going to move on,” Reynolds said. “Something could happen in the next couple hours, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Last month, the team declined Reynolds’ $11 million option for 2013 with a $500,000 buyout. If the Orioles tender Reynolds a contract, he could make in the $9 million range through the arbitration process.
“I definitely want to get to some kind of something,” Reynolds said of getting a resolution today, “whether it’s I’m gone or I’m going to be an Oriole. I want to know something. At the end of the day I guess things will work out the way they’re supposed to work out.”
Reynolds has made it clear he wants to stay in Baltimore. While he developed into an excellent defensive first baseman when he was moved there in May and is a tremendous fit inside the Orioles clubhouse, it has become increasingly clear that the Orioles aren’t willing to risk paying Reynolds, a streaky high-strikeout hitter whose power numbers went down last season, $9 million to be their first baseman next season.
They haven’t yet, but the Orioles could still approach Reynolds with a contract offer in the11th hour tonight. Reynolds said he wasn’t prepared for that situation.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know.” Reynolds said about the possibility. “They’re going to do what they think is best and obviously I’m going to explore my options and see what happens. At the end of the day, it’s a business and they have to do what’s best for the Orioles and I have to do what’s best for myself.
“There’s definitely interest,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully it’s mutual. There are great guys on the team. It’s a great clubhouse and it’s something I want to be a part of and if they don’t see me as the part of the plan, then that’s the way it is.”