Transaction Retrospection: The Mark Reynolds Trade

It's been more than two and a half years since Mark Reynolds was traded to the Orioles from the D'Backs, but it was interesting to see each of the key players in the trade pop up in headlines last week. Reynolds was designated for assignment by the Indians, while setup man David Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Reno by the D'Backs.

Those weren't the only names involved in the trade, of course. Arizona also sent backstop John Hester to Baltimore, who sent right-hander Kameron Mickolio to the D'Backs as well. Let's take a look at each player in the deal and how they panned out with their new teams…

  • Mark Reynolds: Reynolds was 27 at the time of the trade and just a season removed from the finest year of his Major League career. In 2009, he hit .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers and 24 stolen bases in 155 games. ReynoldsWhile he led the NL in strikeouts, the breakout campaign led to lofty expectations, of which Reynolds fell very short in 2010. Reynolds followed up his monster season by hitting .198/.320/.433, prompting GM Kevin Towers to ship him to Baltimore. With the O's, Reynolds hit .221/.328/.458 with 60 homers in two seasons before being non-tendered last November. He hit a blistering .247/.352/.532 with 15 homers in the season's final 52 games last year, helping the O's stave off the Rays and earn a Wild Card berth. But in 22 postseason at-bats, he collected just three hits and struck out 10 times. Reynolds' defensive limitations outweighed his power, as Fangraphs pegged him as a below-replacement-level player in Baltimore (-0.2 WAR).
  • John Hester: Hester never appeared in a game for the O's, who ultimately released him last season. He batted .254/.324/.341 in 82 games for Triple-A Norfolk in 2011 and appeared in 10 more for Norfolk before his release and subsequent signing with the Angels.
  • David Hernandez: Hernandez was outstanding for the Snakes in 2011-12, posting a 2.94 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 137 2/3 innings. He picked up 15 saves while filling in as the closer as J.J. Putz was on the DL in those seasons as well. However, Hernandez has seen his command worsen and his swinging-strike rate drop in 2013, leading to a drop in strikeouts. He's also become increasingly homer-prone, which explains the large discrepancy between his 5.59 ERA and 4.17 xFIP. He's controlled for two more seasons after this one, so he has time to sort things out and return to his status as one of the game's best setup men. Hernandez's 3.5 fWAR from 2011-12 ranked seventh among MLB relievers.
  • Kam Mickolio: Mickolio was one of the pieces that Baltimore received in the Erik Bedard heist with Seattle, but he never caught on in Baltimore and didn't fare any better with the Diamondbacks. He appeared in just six games for Arizona in 2011, allowing five runs on 10 hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings. He was slightly better at Triple-A, where he posted a 4.97 ERA in 58 innings with the Reno Aces. Mickolio, now 29 years old, has potentially revived his career by posting a 2.65 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 over his past 98 1/3 innings of relief. The only problem for Arizona is that he's done it for the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Pro Baseball, as he was released following the 2011 season and signed in Japan.

Overall, the trade looks better for the Diamondbacks than it does the Orioles, even if neither of the key components is a factor in the clubs' current playoff pushes. Baltimore received some added pop to its lineup, but that power came at the expense of Reynolds' poor defense, limiting his overall value to the team. Shedding Reynolds' remaining $13MM in salary was a win for Arizona looks now to have been a victory in its own right, and Hernandez's presence tips the scale in their favor rather decisively, even if he never regains the form he showed in his age 26-27 seasons.

Click here for more entries in the Transaction Retrospection series, and remember that you can use MLBTR's Transaction Tracker to look back on trades and analyze them at any time. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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