Betemit and Reynolds are really platoon players to varying degrees. Betemit is an extreme platoon player. His wOBA is split .358 against righties and .226 against lefties. Mark Reynolds carries a .287 wOBA against righties and a .390 wOBA against lefties. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with wOBA...think of a .330 mark as about average.
If you platoon the two of them, shielding each other from their handed weaknesses, they wind up as a .366 wOBA first baseman. If you are someone who enjoys the basic slash line, it would be 284/365/490. Or if you are more old school: 42 doubles and 27 home runs over 700 plate appearances.
How does that match up against other first basemen according to FanGraphs?
With a .366 mark, you have the 6th best offensive 1B in baseball instead of having a .311 wOBA at 1B and a .322 mark at third to go along with atrocious defense. As I have them projected right now, Reynolds will have a 0.0 WAR for the remainder of the season at first. Meanwhile, Betemit will have a 0.5 WAR at third. A .366 mark would be worth 1.5 to 2 WAR depending on whether their defense is bad or just mediocre.
Rank Name Team wOBA 1 Joey Votto Reds .444 2 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays .415 3 Paul Konerko White Sox .395 4 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks .390 5 Prince Fielder Tigers .376 6 Adam Dunn White Sox .363 7 Mark Teixeira Yankees .362 8 Albert Pujols Angels .354 9 Corey Hart Brewers .343 10 Adam LaRoche Nationals .341
The problem then becomes how to find a sufficient third baseman. The Phillies' Placido Polanco has been mentioned as a trade target. His .277 wOBA and good (not great) defensive puts him in line to pick up maybe 0.3 to 0.5 WAR the rest of the year. Maximizing Betemit and Reynolds with the addition of Polanco would be a good for a couple games. Bigger fish are out there though and if you believe the Orioles have been overachieving...then you want a bigger boat.
The Padres' Chase Headley is a major target for several teams. He likely has about 2-3 WAR left in his season to earn. That would give the Orioles a bump of maybe 4 games with the 1B platoon. The problem with his acquisition is the sheer number of teams the Orioles would have to compete with in getting him in addition to the Orioles' hourglass farm system. What I mean by that is that the Orioles have two amazing prospects in Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, they lack solid second tier prospects, and then there is a lot of third tier guys. Chase Headley simply will not go for third tier guys and teams buying low on Brian Matusz or Jake Arrieta.
However, another team might just take a chance: the Marlins. Hanley Ramirez is having his second poor hitting year in a row. He also has about 36MM coming to him over the course of the 2013, 2014, and the remainder of the current season. It is a bit of an overpay when his worth is about league average or slightly below. In his current state, he is a slight improvement over Wilson Betemit at third base. His wOBA is just eight points higher at .330 and he rates as an average fielder where Betemit is rated as a poor fielder. Hanley is also only a couple seasons from being one of the best hitters in baseball. It seems that the baseline is livable and the potential is great. If the Orioles took on Hanley's entire salary to install him at third, the Marlins may bite for Arrieta, Schoop, and a low minors power arm. Maybe that is only a starting bid, I do not know. What I do know is that would put the Orioles in a position that is about 30 runs better than they currently are at.
I don't know about you, but I would be pretty happy with the Orioles having Albert Pujols at first base and Hanley Ramirez at third base.