Cardinals sign slugging first baseman Reynolds

Right-handed-hitting vet also experienced at third

Cardinals sign slugging first baseman Reynolds

ST. LOUIS -- After a week of meeting with agents of available players who could fill the Cardinals' need to add a right-handed-hitting first baseman, the club has found a fit in Mark Reynolds. The deal, made official Thursday evening, will cover just the 2015 season.

Reynolds, 31, has been one of the Cardinals' targets since the start of the offseason, as his power potential is intriguing to a club that finished the season last in home runs in the National League. Reynolds also brings the versatility to play both corner infield positions, giving the Cardinals protection and flexibility in how they can utilize other pieces in their infield.

Reynolds hit 22 home runs in 130 games for the Brewers last season while batting .196/.287/.394. Along with the power, though, come strikeouts. He fanned 122 times in 378 at-bats in 2014 and has three seasons of at least 200 strikeouts. Over eight seasons, he has 224 homers.

After stops in Arizona, Baltimore, Cleveland and New York, Reynolds spent 2014 in the NL Central, where he went 5-for-35 with two homers against the Cardinals. A mental mistake of forgetting the number of outs in an inning helped the Cardinals to a one-run win in a key September game between the division rivals.

Reynolds started 72 games at first base, 29 at third and one in right for the Brewers. Though more experienced at third base, he was a plus-defender at first, accounting for two Defensive Runs Saved and an Ultimate Zone Rating of 5.6.

While Reynolds' season numbers against lefties (a .173/.277/.296 slash line) were hardly standout, he does provide a right-handed bat that could spell Matt Adams time at first base if Adams does not improve his own production against left-handed pitching. Reynolds has batted .231/.351/.458 against lefties in his career, while averaging a home run every 17 at-bats.

Reynolds' ability to also play third gives the Cardinals coverage behind Matt Carpenter. St. Louis was thin in third-base depth after losing Daniel Descalso and Mark Ellis to free agency.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.