The greatest example of how baseball is a marathon and not a sprint may come in the form of Mark Reynolds.
Remember in April when Reynolds seemed to be taking Cleveland by storm in April? Reynolds hit .301, with eight home runs and 22 RBIs and was a guy that left everyone searching to give him a nickname. Our site felt he was like a hurricane. Fans wondered aloud if the Indians could possibly give him an extension at the All-Star break so that he didn’t hit the free agent market. We wondered if he could possibly hit the scoreboard. I once tweeted that he was appointment TV. You shouldn’t leave your seat or the television if Reynolds is coming to the plate.
My how times have changed. Now, it’s Reynolds who might need a seat himself.
Our own Bob Toth tweeted a sad and scary statistic yesterday. Reynolds drew his fourth walk in July, and only has three hits. This is a sad statistic for the analytic guys who said Reynolds’ strikeouts would be a fair trade off for the power and on-base percentage he would provide. The power and the walks have seemed to disapper. All that’s left is the strikeouts.
And while Reynolds’ offensive production has got worse each month this sesason, his playing time has remained steady. Indians manager Terry Francona gave him the last two days off before the All-Star break and the first game after the break, but he was right back in the lineup the last two days. Saturday he hit eighth, Sunday he hit sixth. Neither day did he register a hit. He did leave six runners on base.
While Francona’s extended All-Star break for Reynolds was certainly intended to give him the chance to clear his mind and work on some swing mechanics, it should also be a quiet message to Reynolds and the rest of the team that he doesn’t need to play every day. Production from Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes has all been better than Reynolds in the last two months. None of them are every day players, but at this point, why should Reynolds be an every day player.
Raburn and Aviles seem to be at their best when they play three to four days a week, sparking the lineup. Why not begin the same approach with Reynolds? The bench bunch all produces in their part time play. Until Reynolds can get hot again, why not add him to the bench rotation among players that receive part-time playing time?
Francona remains the ultimate players’ manager, standing by veterans and giving them all the chances they need to play out of slumps. But with just 64 games remaining in the season the season is becoming more of a sprint than a marathon. Fans were quick to jump on the Reynolds bandwagon, but Francona may be the only supporter he has left. Now, it might be time for Francona to finally bail, for the sake of the other veterans on the team and the ones that can provide better production for the final two months of the season.
Hurricane season has been gone for a while and there’s no sign of a return on the radar. It’s time to adjust to a new forecast.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images