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David Hernandez Rumors
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. While 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.
The 2011 amateur draft has officially produced its first Major Leaguer, as Trevor Bauer made his debut for the Diamondbacks tonight against the Braves. The third overall pick from 2011 was shaky in his first start in the Show (two runs on five hits and three walks over four innings and 74 pitches) but Bauer escaped with a no-decision.
Here are some more items from the D'Backs and elsewhere in the NL West…
- David Hernandez's two-year extension with the Diamondbacks is worth $3.5MM, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Hernandez received a $250K signing bonus, and the right-hander will earn $1.25MM in 2013 and $2MM in 2014.
- The Dodgers' seven-year, $42MM deal with Cuban prospect Yasel Puig has stunned many international scouting directors, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Puig's signing has caused a "huge disparity of opinion around the game," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, who cites one scout that rated Puig as worth just a $500K contract.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten tells Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that the team is prepared to make "big" moves at the trade deadline and are willing to increase payroll. Kasten said he would prefer to take on more salary if it meant the Dodgers wouldn't have to trade a promising minor leaguer.
- The Rockies should try to deal Michael Cuddyer while he still has trade value, opines Fangraphs' Chris Cwik. Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd recently said he isn't going to move Cuddyer, though other teams have called about the veteran outfielder.
- Aubrey Huff told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he hasn't thought about retiring despite his difficult 2012 season. The Giants veteran hasn't produced at the plate, battled an anxiety disorder and is currently on the DL after spraining his knee while celebrating Matt Cain's perfect game.
- Billionaire Steve Cohen dropped out of the bidding to buy the Padres once the price reached $800MM, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Cohen is a Mets minority owner and was one of the top contenders to buy the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with right-hander David Hernandez on a two-year contract extension, according to a team release. Hernandez, 27, has posted a 4.32 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in four big league seasons spent with the Orioles and Diamondbacks.
The former 16th round pick is a hard-throwing flyball pitcher who has developed into a reliable setup man for Arizona since arriving in Phoenix prior to the 2011 season. Hernandez would have been arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason.
Here's the latest from the NL West…
- The Padres' contract extension with Cameron Maybin is a good deal for both parties, writes Fangraphs' Mike Axisa.
- Jeff Moorad's purchase of the Padres could be finalized on March 12 when MLB's ownership committee and executive council hold meetings, reports Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sullivan hears "the Padres have completed the process of responding to baseball’s questions" following a January owners' meeting when Moorad's latest attempt to complete his purchase wasn't addressed due to what Bud Selig referred to as "economic concerns."
- The Diamondbacks renewed the contracts of Josh Collmenter, David Hernandez, Ian Kennedy and Gerardo Parra for 2012, the team announced Saturday. Between these renewals and agreeing to terms with 15 other players, Arizona now has its entire 40-man roster under contract for the coming season.
- The Dodgers also announced the signings of all their players with less than three years of Major League experience, with Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times specifying that A.J. Ellis will earn $490K in 2012 and Javy Guerra will earn $488K.
- CBS and MSG are each considering investing in one of the groups bidding to buy the Dodgers as a path to obtaining the team's broadcast rights, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Both networks would use the Dodgers as the foundation for a regional sports network. With CBS, MSG, Time Warner and current rights-holders FOX all interested in Dodgers programming, the club looks well-positioned for a multi-billion dollar TV contract, perhaps even topping the Angels' recent 20-year, $3 billion deal with FOX.
A few stray items of note on this Thursday evening …
- MVP voters who omit pitchers from their ballots should be recused from voting, opines Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com. Voting rules stipulate that all players, including pitchers and DHs, be considered for the MVP, so Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay are legitimate candidates, explains Ringolsby.
- The Tigers' signing of Victor Martinez to a four-year contract is proving to be one of the better moves of the offseason, opines Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com.
- Nationals righty Chien-Ming Wang has been durable upon returning to the big leagues after missing two-plus years to injury, but he has trouble warming up his surgically repaired right shoulder before starts, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Because of this, Wang, a free agent at season's end, has been struggling early in his starts before settling in.
- Each of the eight likely playoff teams boasts a strong relief tandem, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Half of them were formed in the past year: Last offseason, the Diamondbacks traded for David Hernandez and signed J.J. Putz, and the Tigers signed Joaquin Benoit. In July, the Brewers traded for Francisco Rodriguez and the Rangers acquired Mike Adams.
Reynolds' stock is at a low point after he hit .198/.320/.433 with 32 home runs and 211 strikeouts this year in 596 plate appearances for Arizona. However, he mashed 44 home runs in '09 despite whiffing 223 times. Reynolds owns the first three spots on the single-season strikeout all-time leaderboard. He was locked up by former D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes in March and is owed $5MM in '11 and $7.5MM in '12 with an $11MM club option for '13.
As a reliever, the 25-year-old Hernandez posted a 3.16 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 0.97 HR/9 in 37 innings this year for the Orioles. He's a hard-throwing flyball pitcher who the Diamondbacks view as their seventh/eighth inning guy.
Mickolio, 26, is another hard-throwing right-handed bullpen arm. He came to the Orioles in the February '08 Erik Bedard trade. He's less established than Hernandez, with only 25 Major League innings to his name. Mickolio posted big strikeout numbers in 35 1/3 Triple-A innings this year but also allowed tons of hits, leading to a 6.37 ERA. He's dealt with various arm injuries the past few years.
The latest NL West rumors, aside from a certain huge trade…
- The Dodgers were extremely close to signing A.J. Pierzynski before White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stepped in, tweets Peter Gammons of the MLB Network. The Dodgers have been in the market for a catcher ever since they declined to offer arbitration to Russell Martin.
- Earlier this week we learned that the D'Backs were looking at getting pitcher David Hernandez from the Orioles in a package for Mark Reynolds. This isn't the first time that Arizona has tried to land Hernandez, says Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter). Ghiroli adds that several other teams, including Tampa Bay, are high on the right-hander.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post (via Twitter) could see the Rockies getting in on outfielder Josh Willingham. We have long heard that Willingham and the Nats would part ways over an impasse in extension talks. Now after the arrival of Jayson Werth, it now seems very likely that Willingham will be moved.
- Meanwhile, the Rockies lost out Lance Berkman because they did not want to give the veteran $8MM and an everyday job wasn't realistic in Coors Field, Renck tweets.
10:32am: The O's and D'Backs are closing in on a deal that would send Reynolds to Baltimore for Hernandez and Mickolio, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. The trade is pending physicals, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
10:08am: The Orioles and Diamondbacks are "making progress" on a Mark Reynolds trade, O's president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told reporters including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link). The deal is getting close, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Ghiroli hears the same (Twitter link).
Chris Tillman is not in the deal as it's presently constructed, tweets Heyman. David Hernandez is expected to be part of the trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Righty Kam Mickolio is a strong possibility, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Chris Tillman's name has been mentioned in connection with the Mark Reynolds trade rumors, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic thinks the D'Backs "seem to like" David Hernandez more, but Hernandez would be just one piece of what's likely to be a pitcher-centric package (Twitter links).
- The O's are one of three teams known to be exploring a Reynolds deal, but they're the ones with "the heaviest interest" in the third baseman according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The Blue Jays and Padres, in fact, "strongly deny" that they're even pursuing Reynolds.
- "Some progress has been made" between the Orioles and Koji Uehara, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The club has been keeping in touch with Uehara's agent and Zrebiec says team officials "feel pretty good" about their ability to re-sign the reliever.
- Zrebiec also notes that Baltimore has been in discussions about a number of free agent relievers and have contacted the representatives of Grant Balfour, Jesse Crain, Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier and Kerry Wood. The O's "have at least one offer out" to one of these pitchers, Zrebiec says.
- Baltimore has contacted Bobby Jenks' agent, reports Zrebiec in another piece.
- From that same article, Zrebiec writes "the next person I speak to in the organization who feels the O’s have a shot at Konerko would be the first." The Orioles' interest in Konerko is "largely overblown" and most insiders feel Konerko will re-sign with the White Sox.
The Orioles' search for a shortstop has led them to Japan and to the trade market. They are going to bid on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka according to a Sports Hochi report relayed by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The Mariners and Padres also seem likely to bid, but the Giants will not bid and the D'Backs probably won't either.
The Dodgers and Cardinals have some interest in Nishioka and we should know the high bidder by early next week. The 26-year-old switch hitter batted .346 with 22 steals and 206 hits last year. ESPN.com's Keith Law and Newman recently offered more analysis of his game.
The Orioles have also discussed deals for J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett and have dangled David Hernandez. Dan Connolly of the Sun says he's not sure he would give up Hernandez for either shortstop, since he's a big believer in the right-hander's upside, particularly as a reliever.