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Reynolds, Diamondbacks agree to three-year deal with option for 2013

Mar 15, 2010, 3:38 PM EDT

Mark Reynolds and the Diamondbacks were said to be in contract talks for months now, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have finally agreed to a three-year, $14.5 million contract with an $11 million team option for 2013.
Reynolds is coming off a career-year that saw him hit .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers, 102 RBIs, and 29 steals, but because he narrowly missed being arbitration eligible for this season it’s important to note that the Diamondbacks would have had him under team control through 2013 anyway.
The new deal cancels out his previous contract renewal for 2010, which was set to pay Reynolds about $425,000, and then essentially pre-pays $14 million for his first two seasons of arbitration while giving the Diamondbacks an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout on his third and final season of arbitration.
Arizona gets some cost certainty by signing Reynolds now, which definitely has value given the unpredictable nature of arbitration salary demands, but typically in these types of contracts the team also secures an option for the player’s first year of free agency (for very recent examples, see Minnesota’s recent deals with Nick Blackburn and Denard Span).
Perhaps the Diamondbacks see the cost certainty and potential savings as hugely important, but guaranteeing him $14.5 million rather than simply going year-to-year via the arbitration process is also a risk if he gets hurt or declines. Because of that not getting Reynolds to delay free agency in exchange for the up-front money seems like a misstep. He’ll still be eligible to hit the open market after 2013.

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