By: T.J. Zuppe
As the weekend winds down and many were waiting for free-agent infielder Kevin Youkilis to make a decision on his new home, the Cleveland Indians were making a decision on who will occupy first-base in 2013. Late Sunday, the Tribe signed free-agent infielder Mark Reynolds to a one-year, incentive-filled contract worth reportedly $6-million ($7.5-million with full incentives).
The team has yet to comment on or confirm the report.
The deal was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and confirmed via a source. Reports out of Baltimore (MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli first reported the terms of the deal) also confirmed this news. The signing will reportedly be finalized pending a physical.
Reynolds - a non-tender victim earlier this off-season by the Baltimore Orioles - will likely occupy first-base, a position he played pretty well with Baltimore in 2012. The 29-year old can also play third-base but was noticeably better at first with Orioles last season.
As an Oriole in 2012, Reynolds hit only .221 but posted a solid OPS of .763 (.807 career OPS mark). The right-handed hitter connected on 23 home runs - which would have comfortably led the Indians in '12 - driving in 69 in 135 games.
Reynolds - known for his many strike outs and raw power - K'ed 159 times last season. He has struck out 198 times or more in a season four times.
However, his pop cannot be overlooked. In his career, the infielder has hit double-digit homers every season he has been in the big leagues, including four seasons with 28 dingers or more.
He will provide the Tribe with the legitimate right-handed power threat they have coveted over the last several seasons.
As for Youkilis, the free-agent had reportedly taken the weekend to decide between offers from the Yankees and Indians. Reports had indicated Youkilis was weighing deals of $12-million from New York for one-year and $18-million over two campaigns from the Tribe.
It is unclear at this time how the impending signing of Reynolds changes Cleveland's pursuit of Youkilis or outfielder Nick Swisher - another free-agent the Indians have been courting.
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