When Kevin Towers took over the job as general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks he had several items on his to-do list to make this team more competitive. The top of that list included rebuilding the worst bullpen in all of Major League Baseball and cut down the number of strikeouts by the offense.

Both of these items were addressed when Arizona sent starting third baseman Mark Reynolds and either a player to be named later or cash to Baltimore for right-handed pitchers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.

In Hernandez the Diamondbacks receive a pitcher that can either work into the starting rotation or become part of the revamped bullpen. In 2010 Hernandez threw 79 innings striking out 72 while walking 42. He held opponents to a .242 average and had an overall ERA of 4.31. Coming out of the bullpen Hernandez’s ERA was lowered to a 3.51.

Many have suggested Hernandez has closer stuff and he would be better off as a late-inning pitcher. While Hernandez likely will not be the Diamondbacks closer, he could ultimately become one.

Mickolio is a hard-throwing right-hander that came to the Orioles as part of the Erik Bedard deal with the Seattle Mariners. Mickolio is 6’ 9” and has a powerful arm. The Orioles expected him to become a late-inning pitcher but he struggled during spring training and ended up in the minor leagues for most of the season. The Diamondbacks are hoping a change of scenery will help him live up to his potential.

By trading Reynolds the Diamondbacks lowered their team strikeout total by more than 200 per season. Add to that the departure of first baseman Adam LaRoche and the Diamondbacks have cleared nearly 400 strikeouts from the league-leading total.

Reynolds struggled last season hitting just .198 and had more strikeouts than hits for the fourth consecutive season. There is no debating Reynolds’ power but his lack of plate discipline has plagued the Diamondbacks for too long.

Arizona will now be forced to look to replace Reynolds’ 32 home runs and LaRoche’s 100 RBI in a rather meager offense. The Diamondbacks struggled to score runs the past two seasons so losing two of their most productive hitters will definitely be a challenge for Towers at the winter meetings this week.

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