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AP Source: Indians, Reynolds agree to 1-year deal

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AP Source: Indians, Reynolds agree to 1-year deal

CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Indians entered the offseason searching for a right-handed power hitter to bolster their lineup. After striking out at last week's winter meetings, they may have finally connected.

A person familiar with the negotiations said Sunday night the Indians have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent slugger Mark Reynolds. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is pending a physical.

Reynolds would likely take over at first base for Cleveland, but he also could be used as the designated hitter.

Reynolds, who hit 23 homers last season for Baltimore, would definitely bring immediate pop to the Indians. Last season, Carlos Santana led the club with 18 homers. The Indians have needed a righty batter to balance out their heavily lefty lineup.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti spoke with Reynolds' agent at the winter meetings last week in Nashville, Tenn. The club also showed interest in Kevin Youkilis, who is weighing an offer from the New York Yankees. The Indians reportedly wooed Youkilis with a two-year package, and new manager Terry Francona personally reached out to one of his former players, hoping to bring him to Cleveland.

The Indians also have pursued free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher, who has drawn interest from several teams.

Cleveland made a four-year offer to Shane Victorino last week, but he signed a three-year deal with Boston.

Youkilis may still be in play for the Indians, but they at least have a backup plan in place with Reynolds, who made 105 starts at first last season. He began the season at third, but was moved across the infield after 15 shaky starts.

The 28-year-old Reynolds batted .221 with 69 RBIs in 135 games for the Orioles. Although he strikes out too much - he fanned 159 times in 457 at-bats last season - he has 181 career homers in six seasons in the majors. Reynolds played four seasons with Arizona before he was traded to Baltimore in 2010.

Reynolds has struck out more than 200 times in three different seasons.

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Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

BY TYLER BYRUM

Coming into the 2017 season, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to build off a Wild Card appearance last year that ended in disappointment. 

In the off-season the team needed to address numerous issues along their roster, especially the team’s starting pitching.  Without any major moves during the winter, the Orioles will start the season with the 24th best starting rotation in the majors according to USA Today.

Last year the team’s rotation was not that great and a majority of them are returning to the squad this season. Behind Kevin Gausman (3.61 ERA) and Chris Tillman (3.77), the remaining six regular starters averaged a 5.35 ERA. Only one of those pitchers had a sub 5.00 ERA and that was right-hander Dylan Bundy (4.02).

He started the season primarily as a reliever but towards the end of the year he was consistently in the five-man rotation. In the games he started, the right-handed pitcher finished with a 8-5 record. None of the other starters, excluding Chris Tillman, finished the season with a winning record. 

Based on essentially no pitching moves by the organization, it appears that the 24-year-old Bundy will be called on to be the third man in the rotation.

READ ALSO: Orioles projected to have a down season

The next rotation spot is lining up for Wade Miley, a starting pitcher the Orioles acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners. Starting in 11 games for Baltimore he only registered two wins.

Leaving only one rotation slot open, returner’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright will be fighting for the spot. Jimenez, who gave up the homerun that ended the 2016 campaign against the Toronto Blue Jays, initially looks to be one of the pitchers to fill in.

While the free agent class was not stellar this off-season, it included two World Series champions Jason Hammel and Edinson Volquez. Other notable free agents were Ivan Nova, R.A. Dickey, and Rich Hill.

Of all the minor transactions the team made in the past three months only one pitcher, Tomo Ohka, has notable experience as a starting pitcher. He turns 41 in March.

RELATED: Manny Machado ranks high among third basemen

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Where does Orioles star Manny Machado rank among MLB third basemen?

Where does Orioles star Manny Machado rank among MLB third basemen?

With the 2017 MLB season just around the corner, several positional rankings have made their rounds. The most tightly contested rankings are of those who man the hot corner because third base is arguably the deepest position in all of baseball. 

Manny Machado is one of the best in the game, but where did he rank with regards to other stars such as Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado? 

Here's how Machado ranks according to several publications:

Tied for first with Kris Bryant according to CBS Sports.

Third accoring to MLB.com

Second according to FOX Sports

Second according to ESPN

It's mostly a three-man race for best third baseman in baseball between Bryant, Arenado and Machado. Over the last two season's Machado has accumulated  13.3 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs, while Bryant has 15 wins above replacement and Arenado has a 9.7 WAR. 

While all three players are similar in their offensive prowess, Machado and Arenado have been significantly better than Bryant when it comes to defensive runs saved over the course of the last two seasons. 

It's hard to go wrong with any of these players at the hot corner, especially with each one capable of hoisting an MVP trophy the end of the year. 

Related: Orioles picked to finish last in AL East in 2017