Welcome to the wicked mind of Morgan Spokny, AKA the “Spokester”.
Out of the gate: When asked to explain the Mark Reynolds trade, ESPN baseball expert Keith Law stated that, “My wife’s grandfather recently told us the story of how his mother would get rid of bedbugs in the small apartment where he grew up. (This story was prompted by the recent spate of bedbug infestations in New York City.) Apparently, she would pour kerosene into the springs of the mattress where the bedbugs lived and bred … and would drop a lit match down the spring to incinerate them. Of course, the risk of this approach is that if you do it wrong, or are a little too aggressive, you will burn your house down. Well, I think Arizona general manager Kevin Towers has decided that strikeouts are akin to bedbugs, and will gladly bust out the kerosene can to get rid of them”.
Sticking with this analogy, newly appointed Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, finally burnt down what remained of one of baseballs worst teams last year. Towers dealt 3B Mark Reynolds to Baltimore for two middle relievers. Yes, I repeat two middle relievers. The “big loot” Arizona brought back in exchange for Reynolds was David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. Both are decent middle relievers but the fact that they are middle relievers is all you need to know. Arizona sold way too low and is clearly intimidated by the many strikeouts generated by Reynolds’ big bat. Reynold’s .198 average last year and ever-present inclination to strike out are a smear on his resume. Dealing a 3b who hit 44 HR in 2009 for two unproven middle relievers is a considerably one sided deal. Does a fly out to CF count just as much as a strikeout? The Orioles still won’t beat the Yankees or Red Sox in 2011, but at least they will go into the 2011 season with a better option at 3B than previous incumbents Garrett Atkins or Ty Wigginton. Maybe Baltimore makes a run at the Blue Jays or Rays.
Rounding second: An interesting conversation I had with a fellow Baseball Insider analyst about the Reynolds deal:
Adam Ganeles: failing to understand your rationale. Reynolds will be out of baseball before he plays for a winner.
Morgan Spokny: Disagree. I’m a big Reynolds fan and I guarantee he will bounce back in a big way next year. Sure he batted sub .200 last year but he also battled injuries all year, including a leg injury which killed his speed and limited his defense, not to mention he had little protection in the lineup last year. Career .817 OPS, with a career high .892 OPS 2 years ago for 2 dime a dozen MR’s.. Terrible trade IMO.
Morgan Spokny: Clearly Arizona needs middle relief, as they had one of the worst bullpens in the history of baseball last year, but they also badly needed to improve the offense… Trading one of your better hitters for bullpen arms seems silly.
Adam Ganeles: Perhaps he [Reynolds] will bounce back from a sabremetrics perspective, but he won’t suddenly become a run producer. More than half of his career HR are solo shots & I’m quite certain that’s not an aberration. 6/50 career mark with the bases loaded is also a significant sample of failure in the clutch. I’ve seen him swing through more than enough ‘grooved’ fastballs to know he doesn’t have IT, no matter how many bombs he hits. He is, and will always be, at the mercy of the pitcher.
Morgan Spokny: Who was he supposed to be hitting in all this time? Arizona hasn’t had a legit lead-off hitter since Tony Womack, who wasn’t exactly a HOF’er. Reynolds led the squad in 2009 with 102 RBI, 98 runs, 24 steals and 76 walks. Second highest RBI and runs contributor was Justin Upton who chipped in 86 and 84 respectively. In 2010, Reynolds was banged up and he still led the D’backs in HR and BB’s, was 4th in runs and 3rd in RBI. He clearly regressed from 2009 to 2010, but I really believe this can be attributed to his health. As they say, sell high and buy low. Arizona clearly sold at his lowest point and it will bite them in the ass next year.
Adam Ganeles: Agree with your last sentiment in principle, but believe AZ made the right decision here– regardless of what they received in return. Addition by subtraction. We’ll see how it shakes out in time.
The setup: I just want to go on record now before it is too late. I’ve been there since day 1. I argued against the entire BLSS cast, Penny Hardaway and Kenny Anderson. How could they say that the trio would lack chemistry? How could Lebron and D-Wade not coexist? Rubbish, I said. How could you not want Russell and Chamberlain? How could you not want Kobe and Jordan? How could you not want Brown and Sayers? I’ve been in favor of the formation of the trio and I’ve been there every step of the way since rooting for Lebron and Co. I’ve been there defending Lebron when he tanked the Eastern Conference Finals due to some indiscretions from a man known as Delonte, when he decided to use the third person profusely, and when he decided to let us know that he was taking his talents to South Beach. After all, who wouldn’t? On a serious note, how did Delonte get away with driving around with a guitar case full of semi automatic weapons? Seriously did the kid hire Dershowitz? Anyway, I’ve been around when Eddie House starting draining threes and made it rain, and I’ll still be there even if I have to eat my words and the more well rounded Celtics manage to dethrone the King and his disciples in the Eastern Conference Finals. VIVA LA THRICE!
The Closer: SF Giants closer Brian Wilson while interviewing with Leno. “Oh that’s nothing, that’s just Tibetan Yeti fur.” Is it just me or is this guy’s personality a fusion of Kenny Powers and Will Ferrell? Not that I’m complaining, kid is a stud, just an observation.
Super weak stat of the day: I read this on baseball America about Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, SS/3B Brandon Wood. “In parts of four seasons with the Angels, he has hit .169, the second-lowest average in major league history for a player with as many as his 479 plate appearances.” From a glass half full perspective it is actually really quite an impressive stat. With something like 140 years of baseball having been played, wouldn’t you agree that it takes some hard work to be the 2nd worst hitter ever? As Borat would say, “not so much”!
By: Morgan Spokny
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About the Author
Written by Morgan Spokny
“The Spokester” is a man of many crafts. Morgan is a co-host, writer, editor, board operator and additionally assists with the Bottom Line Sports Show's day-to-day operations. You can consider him the equivalent of a guy like Lamar Odom, who can run the floor and play the point, slash as a wing, or clash with the big boys in the post. Morgan is a California native, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California Irvine in 2008, and will be obtaining a Master's of Arts in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management from Cal State University, Long Beach, February 2011. In addition to working on the BLSS, Morgan is an analyst for ScoutingTheSports.com and Baseballinsiders.com. He has also previously interned at ABC Channel 7 in Los Angeles, with the OC Flyers, and in the marketing department at NBC Universal Sports.