Kam Mickolio 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 Diamondbacks announced that they have sold Kam Mickolio to the Hiroshima Carp of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported last week that Mickolio was on his way to Japan.
The 27-year-old right-hander has a 4.83 ERA along with a 33K/17BB ratio in 31 2/3 MLB innings over the course of four seasons. Mickolio has also been involved in memorable trades for Erik Bedard and Mark Reynolds.
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.
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.
5:31pm: Baker update: Sherrill made an appearance in Baltimore to take his physical this morning. The O's may not need to examine the three young pitchers coming over. Bedard has yet to fly out to Seattle but this thing should be done by week's end. Meanwhile Jason Churchill (righthand sidebar of his site) is 100% convinced the trade will happen and expects an announcement soon.
3:53pm: Sean Welsh of the Baltimore Examiner says the deal could be completed soon but not finalized today.
12:47pm: Geoff Baker checks in, mostly to dismiss any rumor of Brian Roberts being added to the deal. I hadn't heard that one from any legitimate outlet.
10:51am: The Sun has an update: this deal is nearing completion, pending physicals. Jones is officially in Baltimore for his physical. The deal may be announced later today.
MONDAY, 7:48am: This Baltimore Sun article was posted at 2:48am CST today. Jeff Zrebiec said no one's taken a physical yet, but "officials from both sides remain confident a deal can be reached."
SUNDAY, 10:43pm: John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Adam Jones went to Baltimore today for that long-awaited physical. Hickey says this physical is the only remaining impediment to the Mariners swapping Erik Bedard for Jones, George Sherrill, Tillman, Mickolio, and Butler. Sounds like we might have an announcement on Monday or Tuesday.
SUNDAY, 11:39am: Larry Stone of the Seattle Times gives his take on the Erik Bedard situation. The money quote:
All current indications are that, after all the histrionics of the past week, the Mariners and Orioles will really, truly, actually, once and for all, no turning back, no mulligans, no backing out, no passing go, get this trade done. But check back tomorrow, because nothing is for certain in this messed-up deal.
Stone also adds that Adam Jones was not in Baltimore for a physical on Friday, contrary to other reports. He also gives some details about the three tall pitchers rumored to be part of the deal - Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio, and Tony Butler.