Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians have officially inked their first basemen for the 2013 season, as the club Tuesday announced the signing of Mark Reynolds.
It’s a one-year deal for Reynolds, who the Indians are excited about having based on his 23 homers last season to go along with 69 runs batted in. He does strikeout quite a bit, striking out 159 times last season.
“We feel mark provides a great balance, a right handed bat with power that can get on base, and he’s a very good defender at first base,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti said. “The power that he brings was especially attractive to us.”
The Indians are hoping that Reynolds will go back to the form of 2011, when he hit 37 homers, or even 2008 when he clubbed out 44. He also gives the Indians the right-handed bat they have needed the past few seasons.
In making the Reynolds signing official, the team has announced they have designated 1B/OF Russ Canzler for assignment.
Last season the team got Canzler for cash from the Tampa Bay Rays, and he played with the team in September, playing in 26 games, hitting .269 with 3 homers and 11 RBI.
“It was a really difficult decision,” Antonetti said. “We’re in a roster crunch, and we were at the 40-man mark and we had to clear a roster spot. Some of it is a reflection of need, it was a difficult decision.”
As far as Reynolds goes, Antonetti said he will get most of his plate appearances at first, but also could play some at the DH spot and possibly spell Lonnie Chisenhall at third at times.
The Indians also sat over the last 24 hours with free agent outfielder Nick Swisher, who came into town with his wife to talk to the team about the chance to come back home to play.
Swisher met with the Indians last night, and today had lunch with the team with some Ohio State flavor thrown in, as Jim Tressel and Dustin Fox were at the luncheon.
“It was great to connect with Nick and his wife Joanna, we loved to sit and share our vision with him and share some of those Ohio roots with him as well,” Antonetti said. “I can tell you at this point he’s not signed with us or no one else.”
Swisher was set to leave Cleveland Tuesday and set up more free agent visits.