Hernandez For Reynolds A Steal For Dbacks
Although Many Lamented The Loss Of Slugging Third Baseman Mark Reynolds, So Far The Deal Has Been A Big Win For Arizona
The Arizona Diamondbacks are sure glad David Hernandez is not wearing a Baltimore Orioles uniform this summer. Image by Keith Allison and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
By Bob Goodwood
Special for Modern Times Magazine
July 20, 2011 — After the 2010 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were looking to cut down on strikeouts and add some quality heads and arms to the bullpen.
The move that got the biggest splash — and most directly assessed the situation — was when Mark Reynolds and a player to be named later (which turned out to be John Hester) were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for relievers Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez. Reynolds was a fan favorite in Arizona and his loss was both lamented and praised. In return, the Diamondbacks got two players with very little major league experience.
A risk, to be sure.
But half way through the 2011 season, the move is definitely looking like a shrewd maneuver by the Diamondbacks and General Manager Kevin Towers.
In Baltimore, Reynolds is, well, Mark Reynolds. Incredibly streaky, he can carry a team for a week or so, then bury them the next week by continually striking out with runners in scoring position. His overall numbers are respectable for a power hitter: a .220 average, 20 home runs, 40 runs batted in and a .809 OPS.
But when you look at what he does with runners in scoring position, the way Reynolds can hurt the a team is clear: a .658 OPS, .192 average and 32 strikeouts. That’s a black hole in a major league lineup, especially from your “big bopper.”
Ironically, he was at his best with runners in scoring position for the Diamondbacks in 2010, with 11 home runs, a 1.033 OPS and 58 runs batted in for the season.
In return, the Diamondbacks got Mickolio, who has been a non-factor for the major league club, and David Hernandez, who has been the shutdown guy the team was hoping for late in games.
The 26-year-old Hernandez is making it look easy since he took over for the ailing J.J. Putz in late June. The hard throwing right hander is nearly perfect in July with one walk marring his stat line. He has converted seven straight saves without allowing a hit in 6.1 innings pitched.
J.J. Putz is still the closer, because having two guys at the back end that are as dominant as these two can win a team a lot of ball games. But the fact is Hernandez is looking like he can be the closer of the future. His demeanor and stuff are perfectly suited for the bullpen.
So, basically, the Dbacks got a future closer for a slugging, strikeout prone third baseman. Not too bad.
Sure, the Diamondbacks are still near the top in the major leagues in strikeouts, but they would probably be leading it with Reynolds. The Orioles, on the other hand, are near the bottom of the league in strikeouts — even with Reynolds.
The Orioles are a team that need a guy like Reynolds in their lineup. The Diamondbacks, though, don’t since they already have strikeout prone sluggers like Justin Upton and Chris Young. Upton has K’d 77 times this year and Young has whiffed 79 times. Reynolds, in about the same number of at bats, has struck out 105 times.
That’s a lot of strikeouts for one team.
At least the front office didn’t strikeout on its big off season deal which right now is looking like a grand slam.
Bob Goodwood is a freelance writer currently living in Scottsdale, Ariz.