President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made it to the podium this afternoon, accompanied by manager Buck Showalter and Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers.
The topic, of course, was today’s trade of third baseman Mark Reynolds to the Orioles for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.
“We made no secret of the fact that we were looking to augment our offense this off-season,” MacPhail said. “We don’t think we’re necessarily done being able to improve our offense.”
MacPhail noted the importance of bringing in a right-handed bat to combat the quality left-handed starters in the division. And he seemed more than pleased with Reynolds’ improvement at third base.
MacPhail also mentioned the appeal of Reynolds being 27 and under team control for a few more years.
As for Josh Bell, MacPhail said the Orioles are still “very high” on him, and they’ve received numerous inquiries about him from other clubs.
“We don’t think this necessarily blocks his path,” MacPhail said.
MacPhail also noted that Bell could still make the team out of spring training, but I fully expect him to be Triple-A Norfolk’s starting third baseman on Opening Day.
Asked if Reynolds is strictly a third baseman, MacPhail said, “Who knows what the future holds, but we do think he’s an improving defensive third baseman who our scouts like and considered to be above-average by the end of last year.”
Losing Hernandez, a popular subject in various trade talks, doesn’t preclude the Orioles from making another trade, according to MacPhail.
It does make you think that prying Jason Bartlett from the Rays just became a whole lot harder.
Asked whether having a player with such a high strikeout total could impact other decisions - and Carlos Pena comes to mind - MacPhail replied: “It doesn’t necessarily preclude anybody, but it may change our priority order a little bit.”
To me, it means that Pena has slid down the wish list.
More to come.