Respecting The Relief: The Appreciation Of David Hernandez

June 22, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher David Hernandez (30) throws during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

In this week's column, writer Cody Ulm gives David Hernandez some much-deserved love following his two-year extension with the D-backs.

Lost in all the hullabaloo over the Diamondbacks offensive resurgence, Stephen Drew's return date and the likely debut of Trevor Bauer was the fact that a very deserving man got paid Sunday.

After the D-backs completed the home sweep over the Chicago Cubs this past weekend, it was announced that the club had reached an agreement with right-handed setup man David Hernandez on a new two-year contract.

Don't worry though; while most fans might not give this news the time of day it deserves, I'm about to dedicate 463 words to it.

See, because to me, Hernandez is the glue to this ball club; the poster boy to Kevin Towers' extreme home makeover: bullpen edition. In my mind, without Hernandez in the fold, I see this team's relief staff a lot closer to the historically horrendous 5.80 ERA of 2010 then what they resemble today.

But it wasn't too long ago he was the target of a considerable amount of doubt. I don't know if y'all remember but it wasn't too long ago that people were actually questioning the acquisition that brought Hernandez to Arizona. I mean, even with how frustrating Mark Reynolds could be at times, I must admit even I second guessed trading a contract-controlled home run machine for some reliever with a four plus ERA I'd never heard of.

What's happened since that time though? Oh, well Mr. Hernandez has made me and everyone of his doubters look foolish. In his first year in the desert, Hernandez set a new career high in strikeouts (77) while even managing to collect 11 saves in a pinch. And he's took it to entirely another dimension this season averaging over 13 Ks per nine innings with an ERA just a smidge under 3.00.

That's why if I wasn't just a lowly writer and actually had a say in how things work in the universe, I'd choose Hernandez as Arizona's lone representative in the All-Star Game, even over Wade Miley with the stellar work he's done. Yes, I realize that might sound insane to some but I can't be the only one who gets that "everything's-going-be-alright" sense of security every time Hernandez enters the game, even in the most uneasy of situations.

And Hernandez gives me that same type of warm and fuzzy situation for the future of the D-backs closing situation. I mean come on! Knowing this club has 27-year-old flamethrower on deck who's already better than at least a third of the closers in the league has to make you sleep better at night right?

So here's to you David Hernandez. However big your payday is, I already know it's worth it because just like Coolio says in your entrance music, you're "the kinda G the little homies wanna be like." Word.

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