When the Orioles traded for Mark Reynolds in the winter of 2010, I was irrationally excited. Most of us knew not to take his 44 homer, 24 stolen base season with the Diamondbacks in 2009 at face value. There were plenty of real-life problems that came along with that beautiful fantasy baseball stat line. I was certainly aware of this. But at the time, I didn't care. I was power-starved, and I loved the signing.
For me, Mark Reynolds was Step 1 in the return to Dong City, baby! Look at this dumpster fire of an offense from the 2010 season. That's right, we got a combined 17 home runs from the "starting" 2B, SS, 3B, and LF in that season. There were very few offensive stars on the teams of the late aughts. Every now and then, you'd get an Aubrey Huff or a Luke Scott bashing 25+ homers in our hitter friendly yard, but that was it. We probably would have been in the bottom five teams in the league for power production in each of those years if it wasn't for the AL DH and OPACY.
Those teams weren't just bad, they were boring. Since the signing of Reynolds, the team has put an emphasis on offensive production. And not only has the team been more fun to watch, but it's been a key ingredient in our success. Sure enough, the 2011 team was fourth in MLB in total home runs. I'm not saying that was all because of Mark. I'm just saying that one day, all these home runs may be gone and maybe we will realize that we have been taking them for granted.
Looking back, Reynolds was in a way ahead of his time with his high walk rate and his decision to sell out for power. The 2016 season had one of the highest home run totals in MLB history because of the way teams have instructed more players to change their approach to the "three true outcomes." And consequently in the last half decade Reynolds' unique skill set has been valued less, his defensive flaws have been scrutinized more, and he has had a hard time securing major league playing time. But I'll always remember the moonshots into the left field seats. Peace, ball.