11:42 AM EDT, November 1, 2012
It looks like Mark Reynolds is going to be the talk of November, unless you count those guys running for president, so I’m going to do a little early voting here and give you my opinion on what the Orioles should do now that they have declined to exercise an $11 million option to bring him back for the 2013 season.
This issue hasn’t been prominent on my radar screen, what with all the angst surrounding the Ravens, but when my buddy Eduardo Encina put out a call for your opinions on the subject on Orioles Insider, I just had to chime in.
Of course, you already know that Reynolds isn’t a free agent -- at least not yet. He doesn’t have enough service time to qualify, so the Orioles can tender him a one-year contract and let the whole issue be settled in salary arbitration. That escalator only goes in one direction, so he figures to get at least $8.5 million even if he loses the arbitration case, which is a lot of money for the offensive numbers he put up this past season.
Still, if that’s the only viable option other than sending him off into the open market, the Orioles probably should go in that direction to keep their much-improved defense intact. The real trick would be finding somebody better, which could only mean making a big offer to free agent Adam LaRoche, who is coming off the best season of his career and will need some serious convincing to leave the Nationals.
Since it isn’t my money, I’m in favor of spending whatever it takes to double down on the Orioles’ surprising success in 2012, but LaRoche is probably staying in Washington regardless and Reynolds is an important part of the great team chemistry that developed in the Orioles clubhouse this past season.
Reynolds has made no secret of his desire to stay, so the Orioles could try to sign him to a two-year deal worth, say, $17 million and avoid the possible unpleasantness of an arbitration showdown, but I’m guessing they weigh their options until the end of the month and choose to take it one year at a time.
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