October 30, 2014

Elyria
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Reports: Mark Reynolds, not Kevin Youkilis, will be at first base for Tribe

CLEVELAND — It appears it will be Mark Reynolds and not Kevin Youkilis playing first base for the Indians in 2013.

Reynolds

Numerous reports surfaced Sunday night that Reynolds, a free agent after two seasons in Baltimore, had signed a one-year contract with the Indians worth $6 million. According to the reports, Reynolds can earn an extra $1.5 million in incentives.

The Indians, who had a two-year, $18 million offer on the table with Youkilis, made no official announcement. They are believed to be out of the running for Youkilis, but still in the race to acquire free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher.

Reynolds, 29, hit .221 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in 135 games last season.

He is a slugger from the mold of former Indian Russell Branyan, hitting 181 home runs in 853 big league games, but striking out 1,122 times. He has led the league in strikeouts in four of his five full seasons.

Still, Reynolds, a career .235 hitter, gives the Indians something they have been lacking for years — right-handed power in the every-day lineup.

He hit 44 homers and drove in 102 runs during his best season in the majors, which came in 2009 with Arizona — the team that selected him in the 16th round of the 2004 draft.

Reynolds had spent the majority of his career at third base before moving to first on a near-regular basis in Baltimore last year. He played in 108 games at first for the Orioles and committed five errors.

With Lonnie Chisenhall expected to open 2013 at third base, Reynolds will most likely play first, but Cleveland is also in search of a replacement for designated hitter Travis Hafner.

Reynolds became a free agent when the Orioles declined to exercise an $11 million option on him for next season.
Per usual, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Reynolds will have to pass a physical before the deal becomes official.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.