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December 6, 2010

Andy MacPhail

Buck Showalter

Kevin Towers


KEVIN TOWERS: Hello and thanks for coming out. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles are pleased to announce a trade that was consummated a little over an hour ago. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be sending third baseman Mark Reynolds to Baltimore, and in return, the Arizona Diamondbacks are receiving right-handed pitchers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.
From our standpoint, we have Andy come up here. When I first took the job in Arizona, rebuilding the bullpen was paramount. It's been kind of a thorn in our side the last couple of years. We felt it would probably be difficult to add to our bullpen, strengthen our bullpen through free agency, through size and resources; sometimes you have to move a good ballplayer to be able to acquire good right-handed arms. We felt we have done so in with both Hernandez and Mickolio.
A lot of people ask how could you move 30-plus home runs, 40-plus home runs a few years ago, he was a great defender, very popular player with our fan base and for us to take the leaps forward that we felt we needed to do, to strengthen the pin, we felt this was a tremendous start.
Big deliver in size, arm strength, downward angle. Can't more downward than a 6-9 pitcher. Got a chance to see him in the Arizona Fall League in the past two months.
David Hernandez has not only starting experience but also has saved a couple of ballgames, which was important to us. He's pitched at the end of the ballgame. We've had him up to 98 miles an hour with a curveball. For a little closing experience, they are two guys that we think will fit well in the back of our bullpen. It's the start of rebuilding this bullpen, we have more work to do, but we have a lot with these two individuals.
I will hand it over to Buck and Andy, congrats, Andy, good working with you and the best of luck.
ANDY MACPHAIL: Obviously we are delighted. We made no secret of the fact that we were looking to improve our offense this season. We don't think we are necessarily done. But we needed to improve our offense. We think Mark Reynolds very much represents that. We also see a continuing augmentation of left-handed starters creeping into our division.
We are not as productive as we would like to be against left-handed starters last year so we wanted to get some right-handed bats in. Mark has definitely demonstrated he is capable against left-handed pitching, we are buoyed by the fact that he will start next year at 27, somebody that we have in our control for several years. He is a young player who is improving his defense, which is a very important part of the equation for us. And I couldn't help but be struck by listening to Pat Gillick's words today when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame; the one thing that he volunteered was when he started as a general manager, I thought the equation for character and talent went about 70 percent talent, 30 percent character, but by the end of his career he figured he had gotten it wrong and it was 70 percent character and 30 percent talent. And we are delighted and hear nothing but great things about the intensity and character of Mark Reynolds. So we are delighted to have him. We hope to make some other changes to augment our offense over the course of the off-season prior to Spring Training and are continuing to work towards that end.

Q. Where are you with a closer at this point?
KEVIN TOWERS: Well, there's no secret we are looking for a guy in the back of the bullpen. We are still out looking for more relief help. There are some people that have closing experience that we have talked to, some ball clubs that have guys that can close. The two individuals we traded for, they may develop into that type of pitcher at some point in time. We would like to have a full Spring Training with them to see where they are at, but we need that to add several pieces to our bullpen before we can think we can be competitive. This is a start, but we are certainly not finished.

Q. One of the other reasons for this trade is you wanted to keep Josh Bell, do you keep him at third base?
ANDY MACPHAIL: Josh Bell was a promising young third base prospect for us. We still are very high on Josh and we certainly have had a lot of interest from other clubs.
We think the benefit of the DH and different corner positions, we don't think this necessarily precludes Josh from if he has a Spring Training, of participating in the Major League level in 2011.
So really, it doesn't necessarily block our path, is our view. And one other thing I would volunteer, to get something in this business, you're going to have to give up something, and we did give up two very good arms. And believe me, it was on my mind when dealing with Kevin Towers, you are probably dealing with the foremost bullpen expert in our business about trying to find different pieces. He has found value in that bullpen in a lot of places, and I think he's picked up two very quality arms in Cam and David.
It is an area we think we have some depth in our franchise and an area where there is depth in free agency and trades to fill it, and you pretty much have to play the markets from year-to-year. Certain years the market offers you certain positions and other years it's lacking certain positions. So more or less we felt we had to play what the market gives us this season?

Q. Is Reynolds strictly the third baseman as far as you could see? Could you move him to third base?
ANDY MACPHAIL: We like his defense. Who knows what the future holds. We do think he is an improving defensive third baseman and is considered to be above average by the time he came in last year. So it doesn't necessarily mean a move or him or Josh. We'll just have to see how the events play out.
As an organization, we made a determination that it was going to be easier to replace the good arms in the pen than it was going to be to give up what could be potential bats that you would have control over, and would be young, could have power, switch hit. Those things are hard to come by.

Q. Can you talk about the limited trade shapes you may have, and David was considered one of the primary ones. Does this preclude you from making other larger deals?
ANDY MACPHAIL: I would say no. But I would say this, and then I would invite Buck to come in and say what he would like.
The currency that the Baltimore Orioles have that is the most valuable are some of our young players and in particular some of our pitchers. It was becoming apparent to us that we were going to have to use that currency to get other things we needed.

Q. How concerned are you about the year Reynolds had last year?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He brings some things that we don't have, and you know, with Josh's potential to do some things at either corner, it opens up a real good what if, and it's obvious our lineup and depth was challenged in certain places. We look at Josh as more than just depth, which is obvious by the interest in him and we have interest in him, too.
I'm not dwelling. You can find negatives on every player. I understand where Mark's history is. We certainly like his contact to damage ratio. He would have led our club in home runs, RBIs, runs scored and walks in a lot of categories. That's just something we don't have and we were impressed by him improving defense and the worrying the organization in Arizona had done with him. It just puts us in a position as well with what he brings and we look forward to bringing him back to the East Coast and welcoming him to the Baltimore organization.

Q. Because of that power, the contact ratio -- are you going to work to have him as more of a contact hitter even with a loss of power?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You can talk about the negatives on any player. Manager, coaches, we all have them. You see a guy's track record of who he is and where he is; keep in mind, he's 27 years old, I think one or two years younger than Adrian Gonzalez. It's just pure numbers and you can't throw that out. But we are not going to profess to do something different than what Arizona is trying to do. We are going to dwell on the positives and the things that he brings to us that we don't have. As Andy said, to have him under control as an Oriole for the next two or three years is intriguing for us.

Q. Just talking about the value of slugging potential versus strikeouts, is that evaluated differently now than ten or 15 years ago, the differential there?
ANDY MACPHAIL: Strikeouts have become an increasingly large percentage of our game and strikeouts were around 15 or 20 percent and if you look at the richest contracts signed this season by free agents, there are still over 150 strikeouts. So they are part of the game. And sometimes that's the trade off you make for other aspects of the game. So it is becoming, as I said, it is increasingly more prevalent in our sport than it was ten or 15 years ago, and you know, the advantage is it doesn't hit into a double play.
As Buck says, we understand the player we are getting. We don't magically think that the strikeouts are fog to be halved because he puts on the black and orange, but clearly the productivity that he brings to you is, in our view, worth a lot.

Q. Now that you have Reynolds, does that change the type of first baseman you'll be looking for, more of a contact hitter?
ANDY MACPHAIL: Our philosophies are going to be impacted by what he's able to do --

Q. But specifically?
ANDY MACPHAIL: It does not necessarily preclude anybody but it might change the priority order a little bit.
BUCK SHOWALTER: It was a challenge for us, runs got better and everybody was trying to do as well as Kevin had done, and make runs matter late in the ballgame. It obviously decreases the need for offense but we don't have a corner on the offense for the American League East, but the challenge is pretty obvious that we had to improve offensively. At the same time we don't feel that we have sacrificed anything defensively, and that was a key component of this deal is where Mark was as a defender at 27 years old and obviously the health factor. And like Andy said, we gave up two young arms that was tough to part with, and obviously Arizona did their work in picking the right people. At the end of the day, we feel we are a better offensive club. There is evidence where this guy would have ranked for us offensively. I don't know if that is a reflection on him or a reflection on what we have had. We'll find out. We will see what the rest of the offseason brings for us.

Q. Inaudible.
BUCK SHOWALTER: First of all the impact initially, he loses his jersey number. Mark was telling him, he was getting ready to change numbers anyway but that's more information than you need. I don't really buy into how that impacts other people and I don't think that the -- the protection things sometimes is overblown. There are things about every hitter you hope is catching and things about every hitter that you hope other people don't do, and it's the same way for managers and coaches and everybody. I don't think it reflects on our club other than it gives another very potent bat that can hurt you with a swing of the bat.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of talk about Reynolds and some names just bandied about with the Orioles and we had heard the insistence on Hernández. What is it about him that you really zeroed in on and as far as other teams, why was this deal better for you?
KEVIN TOWERS: I like power arms. As I said, we had him up to 98. Probably pitches -- once he went to the bullpen, we saw a spike or an increase in his velocity. He's got two dominant pitches. Our reports say that he's got riding life, he's got spike in velocity and heavy sink when it's down in the zone and he's got the type of fastball that he can pitch above the belt because of the added velocity. He's got a powered curve ball and a two secondary pitch and a tough secondary pitch and tremendous primary pitch. I like guys that pound the strike zones. Doesn't seem to have fear. Goes right after good hitters. He's pitched against a very, very competitive AL East. Not to put the NL West down but he's faced good hitters. We feel there's tremendous upside in this individual and we have not seen the tip of the iceberg yet. We feel that he can develop at some point in time into a quality late-inning guy.

Q. When did the talk start on this deal and is it something you thought in the last week you could finish here and was it a matter of sitting down and getting it done?
KEVIN TOWERS: Andy and I probably had initial discussions, probably two or three weeks ago before we came to Orlando for the owners' meeting. We had got knowledge that they were certainly looking to add power to the ballclub. We were looking for bullpen help and we felt that they had depth in that area. And our initial conversation I would say was in Orlando two or three weeks ago at the owners' meeting and we have had consistent dialogue since then. Both of us had several balls in the air on different things and in the last week I would say it became a little bit more clear from our side as well as Andy's side that it was probably a natural fit.
Other than exchanging medicals and background work on all of the players, we were able to consummate the deal this afternoon.

Q. The closer, do you envision that happening here or is that more of a long-term thing?
KEVIN TOWERS: I would say the closer I would see happening here, shortly. Probably not today but maybe tomorrow. With Upton, if everything comes together, it's less likely we would end up moving him. We knew going into that exercise it was going to take an awful lot to make a trade. To trade a young player who is 23 years old who is a tool shed. He does pretty much everything. I think he's only going to get better with him. We are several players away from being competitive in a very good division. I would say we have a pretty good idea when we leave here on Thursday and I would say that it's highly likely that Upton leaves the desert.
One more announcement, also pleased to announce that we came to terms today with third baseman Melvin Mora on a one-year deal. Melvin Mora is certainly a veteran right-handed bat who has won a Silver Slugger, two-time All-Star, played in post-season, and a guy that we have got a chance to see a lot in September. A guy that we feel that it will probably play a little bit of a platoon role with Jeff at third base, good hitter, contact hitter, pitch recognition, great clubhouse guy, which will change the culture there and excited to have a veteran player like Melvin Mora with the Diamondbacks.

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