Diamondbacks acquire closer Reed from White Sox
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona general manager Kevin Towers went into baseball’s winter meetings looking for a starting pitcher, not giving much thought to the back end of his pitching staff.
When the Chicago White Sox called and asked if he’d be interested in closer Addison Reed, Towers jumped at the chance to improve a part of the team that’s struggled the past couple of seasons.
The Diamondbacks bolstered their bullpen on Monday by acquiring Reed in a trade that sent third base prospect Matt Davidson to the White Sox.
“I didn’t think he’d be available, to be quite honest,” Towers said. “We weren’t really focused on the back end of the bullpen, we didn’t see, in my eyes at least, any direct match with them and through conversation they said would you be interested in our closer Addison Reed. Well, yes, with some of the issues we had in our bullpen.”
The Diamondbacks finished 81-81 for the second straight season, a total that clearly could have been higher if the bullpen didn’t tie Houston for the most blown saves in the majors with 29.
Reed should give Arizona an upgrade at the back end and stability, with four years still left on his contract.
The 24-year-old right-hander was seventh in the majors with 40 saves last season and finished 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 68 appearances. Opponents hit .215 against Reed, who had 72 strikeouts, 23 walks and eight blown saves.
Towers said Reed, who has 69 saves since 2012, will be given every opportunity to be Arizona’s closer coming out of spring training.
“I’m going into spring training and I’m going to try to do everything I can to prove to them that that ninth inning belongs to me and compete for that job,” Reed said. “Closer is the only thing I’ve ever dreamed of, the only thing I’ve ever wanted, so I’m going to make their decision as tough as possible to put me in any position other than the ninth inning.”
The Diamondbacks traded away two of their best young players in a three-way trade at the winter meetings, unloading outfielder Adam Eaton and left-hander Tyler Skaggs for slugger Mark Trumbo.
Davidson was considered one of Arizona’s top prospects and hit .280 with 32 doubles, 17 homers and 74 RBIs with Triple-A Reno last season. The 22-year-old hit .237 with three homers in 31 games in the majors, but wasn’t expected to get many at-bats with the Diamondbacks’ infield depth.
The White Sox used Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger at third base last season, and Davidson gives them a potentially big bat in the future.
“We feel that he (Davidson) has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for a long time,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said. “Whether that starts on Opening Day 2014 or soon thereafter, we’ll have to figure out over the coming weeks and months as we get to know him and see him ourselves. He obviously was young for the Triple-A level last year.”
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed to this story.