PHOENIX — While talking with the White Sox last week during negotiations of the three-team deal with the Angels that brought Mark Trumbo to Arizona, the name of D-backs prospect Mark Davidson was brought up by the White Sox.
After that deal was completed, the White Sox brought up a name that piqued the interest of Arizona general manager Kevin Towers.
“They said, ‘If we were to talk about our closer Addison Reed, would you have interest?'” Towers said. “I didn’t even think he would be available, to be honest, we weren’t really focused on the back end of our bullpen and we didn’t see, in my eyes, any direct match with them.”
But the more Towers looked at his team, the more he began to see that Davidson was expendable.
After all, Martin Prado is under a long-term contract, and with the acquisition of Trumbo to play left field, the D-backs certainly were not going to play Prado in left, so the D-backs decided they could part with Davidson.
Reed is under club control for the next four seasons, which was another factor for Towers.
“It was going to be difficult for us to probably get the at-bats for Davidson that we think he needs,” Towers said. “For us to get a young, controllable back-end-of-the-bullpen arm that’s had the type of success that he’s had…”
Reed, who turns 25 later this month, was the closer for the White Sox the past two seasons, saving 29 games in 2012 and 40 last season. A third-round pick by the White Sox in 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Reed was 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA last season.
Reed will have a chance to compete for the closer’s role with J.J. Putz and Brad Ziegler this spring.
“I kind of told [manager Kirk Gibson] about it, but haven’t had a chance to talk to any of our pitchers about it, we haven’t had Addison in uniform yet, but I would have to say he’s going to get every opportunity, along with some of the guys that were here last year,” Towers said. “And we’ll go with the best guy when Spring Training ends and we start the season. If that is Addison Reed, he’ll be our closer.”
It’s a job that Reed covets.
“I’m going into Spring Training and I’m going to try and do everything I can to prove to them that the ninth inning belongs to me and I’m the guy for that job,” Reed said. “Closing is the only thing I’ve ever dreamed of, the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, so I’m going to try and make their decision as tough as possible, [as far as putting] me in any role other than the ninth inning. I’m not taking it for granted, I’m not thinking the ninth inning is a lock and my job. Right now, I’m trying to prepare as best I can for Spring Training, and hopefully win that job.”
The bullpen was a sore spot for the D-backs last year as the unit led the league in blown saves.
Putz was the team’s closer in 2011 and 2012, as well as the first part of 2013, but injuries limited him, and Ziegler took over the role in the second half.
The fact that Reed was available surprised Towers, and it also caught Reed off-guard.
“I was drafted by the White Sox, came up in their system and been with them two years,” Reed said. “I had just gotten done working out [today], came home and had two missed calls from a Chicago area code, and that’s never happened before, so I kind of thought something might be happening. Definitely initial reaction was probably shock, but after it kind of all sank in, I couldn’t be more happy. I’m playing in Arizona, it’s sunny all the time and it’s going to be fun, I’m looking forward to starting out in Arizona.”
Reed had been looking at houses and contemplating a move from Southern California to the Phoenix area over the past couple of months and said the trade now makes him certain to do so.