The Baltimore Orioles seem to be pretty active this winter. Unlike past off-seasons, we are now seeing their name in a number of rumors. Yesterday they pushed forward and made a move, sending relievers David Hernandez and Kameron Mickolio to the Arizona Diamondbacks for slugger Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds brings the Orioles a significant power source that many compare to Adam Dunn as little of his offensive value rests in his batting average. However, he lacks Dunn’s walk rate, but that may come in time. Especially if he’s able to cut into on his high strikeout tendencies. But where he does excel over Dunn is his defense at the hot corner. Dunn’s defense has always been lackluster wherever he’s placed around the diamond, but Reynolds has improved his defense during his stay in Arizona. Orioles GM Andy MacPhail even stated in the press conference that he was taking defense into strong consideration.
MacPhail also noted the gradual influx of left-handed pitching into the AL East. Having a right-handed power bat to counteract that presence will be an asset.
What can we expect? I believe that some of what Reynolds went through last season was bad luck and a jump back to his .242/.334/.483 career average may be in order. But don’t expect a repeat of 2009 next season.
Hernandez and Mickolio are two live-armed right-handed bullpen options for the Diamondbacks. Pitching, especially out of the pen, has been the focus of the Diamondbacks’ administration since the disastrous implosion of the bullpen last season. Both pitchers walk plenty of hitters, but they may be honed into decent bullpen pieces (especially Hernandez).
But how does this impact Josh Bell? It is unlikely that they’ll oust Brandon Snyder from first base to allow for a position shift. It seems more likely that Bell will return to Norfolk to work on his hitting in order to become trade bait down the road. Although he has struggled with strikeouts lately, Bell still had good offensive potential.
The Diamondbacks will likely go with a platoon of the two newly acquired infielders, Geoff Blum and Melvin Mora, until a long-term replacement is settled upon. If Tony Abreu excels, he may become the full-time third baseman at some point during the season. But the team is hoping that Matthew Davidson, Bobby Borchering, or Ryan Wheeler will eventually break out to become the team’s next long-term option at the hot corner.
I’m not a big fan of this trade from the Diamondbacks’ side of things. It looks like they were selling low and didn’t get much for him. But on the flip side, it’s possible that he doesn’t rebound from his 2010 season and, with a higher salary coming for 2012, would’ve been much harder to trade.
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