Mark Reynolds wonders ‘what if’ with late-2000s Diamondbacks
Mark Reynolds looks back fondly on his time in Arizona.
The former major league infielder, who announced his retirement on Thursday, played only four of his 13 MLB seasons with the Diamondbacks. But those four represented important moments in his career, including his debut, his first Opening Day and his first taste of the postseason. He said he made his home in Scottsdale for a decade and missed the people he met in Arizona once he left.
His rookie season, in 2007, the Diamondbacks got all the way to the NLCS.
“It was my rookie year and I was like, ‘Man, this is cool, we’ll be here every year, this is going to be awesome.’ And four or five years in, you’re like, ‘Man, it’s really hard to make the playoffs,'” Reynolds told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “And I took it for granted obviously because I so young and just didn’t really know much about it.”
The following year, in 2008, the D-backs were in contention again. Reynolds was back for his first full season, as was Justin Upton, and Brandon Webb was coming off back-to-back seasons of top-2 finishes in Cy Young voting. A pitcher by the name of Max Scherzer made his MLB debut.
The D-backs narrowly missed the playoffs. In 2009 and 2010, Arizona finished in last place.
“I just wish we could’ve got that group together, me, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Justin Upton, Scherzer, all those guys,” Reynolds said. “We would’ve had a heck of a team. I understand decisions have to be made but I felt like if we could’ve made a run there for three or four years, we could’ve had a shot at a title, for sure.”
In fairness, the 2009 D-backs did feature all of the players Reynolds mentioned, himself included. But the team lost its ace, Webb, to an injury on Opening Day — he would never pitch in the majors again — while the pitching staff had a below-league-average ERA. The team was near the bottom of the league in batting average and 20th in runs scored.
Reynolds himself had a career year in ’09, hitting 44 home runs with 102 RBIs and an .892 OPS.
“I could care less about individual stuff. I wanted to compete for a World Series and that’s all I wanted to do ever since we got so close in 2007,” he said. “It was unfortunate that we kind of took a nosedive there towards the end of my time in Phoenix. I think I had three managers in four years, Bob Melvin, Kirk Gibson and A.J. Hinch. And it was just a tumultuous time after ’07, to where I was in 2010 when I got traded.
“I wish we could’ve kept Bob in there and had all of our core that we had there for a couple years together and could’ve made something of it. But I look back with nothing but good times and the fans were awesome.”