Brewers’ Early Returns: First Base
Apr 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first basemanMark Reynolds
(7) singles against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
There were two words myself and followers of Milwaukee Brewers were sick of this off-season: first base. Corey Hart departed, leaving a huge hole to fill with no sluggers stepping up. Internally, candidates included Juan Francisco and Hunter Morris. Neither made the cut with Morris returning to the minors and Francisco (the fan’s pick after adequate spring training numbers) let go. The organization made and took calls, but the price was either too much (Tyler Thornburg) or too risky (draft pick). Instead they went bargain hunting, selecting a platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay.
Mark Reynolds is making 2 million a year while Lyle Overbay is on the books for 1.5 million this year. Both are minimum salaries given their time in the league and cost of comparable free agents/available first basemen on the market. You got a deal Doug Melvin!
At the plate, both are hitting about as well as can be expected. Reynolds, hitting for a low average, .216, has shown his power with 5 home runs and 9 runs batted in. Overbay, after a slumping start, is hitting .308 with 7 runs batted in as well. The organization spoke about Overbay’s defense as a reason to sign; however, Reynolds has also impressed in the field as well.
Last season the position posted a negative WAR, so far Reynolds has a positive .3 WAR and Overbay has a WAR of a positive .2. A vast improvement, given last year’s negative WAR. So far it is safe to say the platoon is working, so far.
Despite the good news, it’s hard to see the current solution solving long-term first base needs. It’s possibly Morris gets another look later in the year, but if the Brewers continue to contend near the top they will be wise to stick with what’s working and have to (once again) deal with first base in the off-season.
Melvin’s rummage sale shopping has paid off, for now. With both players signed to team friendly contracts, the payroll remains flexible for a potential deal down the road. At this point I don’t believe anyone wants to change anything. Reynolds and Overbay is working, for now.
NOTE: Corey Hart has appeared in 20 games for the Seattle Mariners this year, posting a .240 average with 4 home runs and 9 runs batted in. Hart’s current contract is a one-year deal for 6 million plus incentives.
What do you think of the platoon so far? Still yearn for Hart or is there another free agent/player you have your eye on? Let us know in the comments below.