White Sox, D-backs make a win-win trade
Davidson's big bat heads to South Side, while Arizona pads its bullpen
After having obtained outfielder Adam Eaton from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade earlier this month, the Chicago White Sox struck another deal with the D-backs as each club addressed a major area of need.
The White Sox will be getting 22-year-old right-handed-hitting third baseman/designated hitter Matt Davidson from the D-backs in exchange for 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Addison Reed.
Spending most of the past season at Triple-A Reno, Davidson earned a promotion to the D-backs in mid-August. He played 12 games and was returned to Reno later that month. When rosters were expanded in September, Davidson finished his season with the parent club. He hit .237 during his two stints with the D-backs.
Overall, Davidson hit .280 at Reno with 17 home runs and 74 RBIs. His season included winning the Most Valuable Player Award at the 2013 Future's Game in July. Davidson followed that by winning the Home Run Derby at the Triple-A All-Star Weekend in Reno.
Reed, a former third-round selection by the White Sox in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, pitched in 68 games last season. He earned 40 saves, blowing eight and pitching to an ERA of 3.79. In his 71 1/3 innings pitched, Reed allowed only 56 hits and 23 walks, resulting in a WHIP of 1.10, his best in three years with the parent club.
Reed pitched parts of two seasons in the White Sox Minor League organization before being promoted in September 2011 at age 22. He threw only 108 1/3 innings in the farm system before he was summoned to the big leagues. Reed's time at San Diego State had prepared him well as a quality pitcher with an ability to miss bats regularly.
Reed brings the D-backs an outstanding option for the back end of their bullpen. Having traded Heath Bell to Tampa Bay, the D-backs found an experienced right-handed reliever with an ability to close games.
It is likely Reed will begin Spring Training competing for the closer's role with incumbent closer Brad Ziegler, J.J. Putz and David Hernandez.
Reed turns 25 in late December. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he has the ability to mix and match a very strong 93-95-mph fastball with an effective 81-mph slider. That combination of pitches keeps hitters off balance as they look for one pitch or the other. At times, Reed slips in a changeup to add to the deception.
Reed sets up hitters with good command of the fastball, working ahead in the count in an effort to maximize the impact of his slider. He changes speeds well, but has to be careful not to get the ball up in the zone. There are times Reed misses with pitches and gets too much of the plate. That's when he's most vulnerable.
Reed's fastball runs in on the hands of right-handed hitters, making him that much more difficult to hit. He yielded an overall .215 batting average to the opposition.
The recent trade between the White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and the D-backs brought outfielder Mark Trumbo to Arizona from the Angels and put Martin Prado assuming the full-time role as the D-backs' third baseman. Davidson would have had no permanent place to play, and thus became available to trade.
Davidson, who was selected by Arizona with its first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, was best known in the D-backs' system for his power -- especially to his right-handed pull side. Chase Field could have been a solid environment for his best tool, but U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago will likely be a welcome location for his home games.
For a man with a solid 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame, Davidson runs well. He is sneaky fast and can take an extra base on an unsuspecting outfielder. Davidson won't be a threat to steal bases, but he will do his share to run well and not make mistakes on the bases.
Davidson carried a reputation as "defensively challenged" when he was first promoted to the D-backs. I was fortunate to watch Davidson play third base on countless occasions, and I believe the critics have been a bit harsh.
I will agree that Davidson can be a bit "stiff" at third. He isn't the most agile or athletic fielder, but he has enough range to make the average play. As the season progressed, Davidson showed great improvement coming in on short hops in front of third base and on fielding bunts. He has worked hard on his defense, and he will be average and adequate in Chicago.
Davidson has a strong, accurate arm.
The trade leaves the D-backs without much depth at third base. The club has a number of middle- nfielders that may be capable of spelling Prado at third for a short period of time. Or the team could make an additional move. Eric Chavez, with the club last year, remains a free agent.
Davidson should be in the mix as the everyday third baseman for the White Sox. They boast a deep squad of infield candidates, but his power and upside make Davidson an attractive option. Especially since he came at the price of a top American League closer.
D-backs general manager Kevin Towers has a reputation of building solid and reliable bullpens. Reed provides manager Kirk Gibson with a very solid end-of-game shutdown-type reliever.
The trade of Davidson for Reed benefits both teams. It changes the landscape for both clubs by offering increased depth at critical positions. Each comes away strengthened in an area of perceived need. That's what trades are for.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.