Have you ever hear the expression “swing hard in case you hit it”? Well, that is the epitome of Orioles newly acquired third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds was traded for on Monday morning, just after the first day of Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Florida began. In return, the Orioles gave away relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio (from Triple-A Norfolk).

The pace at which the trade developed was a little bit of a surprise, but the fact that several big names have already inked big deals this early in free agency changed the usual timeline baseball’s free agency takes.

In case you are unfamiliar with Reynolds, all you need to know can been seen by looking at two statistics: home runs and strikeouts.

When stepping up to the plate, there is a good chance he is going to do one or the other. In 499 at-bats last season, Reynolds did one of those two an astonishing 49 percent of the time.

Every player strikes out, but Reynolds has it down to an art form. He has amassed 767 strikeouts in just four seasons, one for every three plate appearances, and has led the league in the category each of the last three seasons.

While the strikeouts and his .198 batting average are far from ideal, his power is something that inevitably general manager Andy MacPhail couldn’t ignore. The Orioles had very little of it in the heart of their lineup last season, and with Adam Dunn signed by the White Sox and Paul Konerko looking like a long shot at this point, the O’s had to look to trade their talent.

With Reynolds, you get a player who is just 26 and has averaged 35 home runs per season over his first three full years in the MLB. That number should eclipse 40 this year, because he gets to play 81 games in Camden Yards’ notoriously short fences.

That is something that people don’t talk about enough: the effect that the Orioles ball park should have. Camden Yards actually allows hitters to hit home runs without having power. How else do you explain Cal Ripken’s 431 home runs?

When you have a batter that actually has that power, Camden Yards can become his best friend.

Add this power to the fact that he fills a huge void at third base, and you can see why this deal needed to be made.

People have already started comparing him to Garrett Atkins, but I believe these two situations are very different. To refresh your memory, Atkins was the first baseman the Orioles signed last season from the Rockies. He was cut after just 44 games due to his .214 average and one home run in that span.

Reynolds is different for several reasons: his age, his previous seasons and his previous team. Reynolds is three years younger and coming off of what can be considered an average year for him. In comparison, Atkins was signed after a terrible year where he hit just nine home runs (he’d averaged 25 in the previous three). 

Also, going back to the point of Camden Yards being hitter-friendly, Atkins played for the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field is infamous for its thin air, which turns pop flies into home runs. How many of Atkins home runs were just pop flies that continued to carry?

At the end of the day, I understand the frustration of Orioles fans: MacPhail seems to be unwilling to overpay players to come to Baltimore, even though it is obvious that it is the only way to convince people to play there.

I’m not saying the Reynolds deal is great, but it is certainly a start.

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