On Monday, the Chicago White Sox made another trade by acquiring third baseman prospect Matt Davidson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for closer Addison Reed.
Upgrading the third base position was a top priority for the White Sox heading into the offseason, and general manager Rick Hahn believes they have now locked up their future at the hot-corner. Davidson will turn 23 years old just prior to opening day and will be under control through the 2019 campaign.
Reed, soon to be 25 years old, emerged as one of the better closers in the American League by converting 40 saves last season. I have always been a fan of Reed ever since he appeared in a White Sox uniform in 2011, and I firmly believe that he has the talent and demeanor to become an elite closer for many years. There is no doubt that Addison Reed will be missed, but that is the price you have to pay if you want to get a quality player in return.
When I first saw the deal, I was not happy about losing Reed, but I was excited about acquiring a prospect like Matt Davidson. Davidson was a former first-round draft pick in 2009, and he has progressed naturally through the Diamondbacks’ farm system. In fact, Davidson was named MVP at the 2013 Future’s Game, and he also took home the Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby trophy. Take a look at his minor league stats from 2010-2013:
2010 – 134 G|486 AB|18 HR|90 RBI|.272 BA|.360 OBP|.469 SLG
2011 – 135 G|535 AB|20 HR|106 RBI|.277 BA|.348 OBP|.465 SLG
2012 – 135 G|486 AB|23 HR|76 RBI|.261 BA|.367 OBP|.469 SLG
2013 – 115 G|443 AB|17 HR|74 RBI|.280 BA|.350 OBP|.481 SLG
As you can see, Davidson profiles as a power hitter with potential to hit 25-30 home runs a season. The one concern on Davidson is that he strikes out at a pretty high rate. Davidson has had strikeout totals of 134, 147,126, and 134 from 2010 through 2013, but he does walk enough to keep his on-base percentage at a very respectable rate.
Davidson did get his first taste of the majors last season when he had 87 at-bats in 31 games with Arizona. The youngster showcased a bit of what he can do by hitting three home runs, six doubles, and driving in 12 runs. The average was low at .237, but a .333 OBP suggests that he is much more than a free-swinger.
Rick Hahn mentioned that he isn’t sure whether or not Davidson will begin the season in Triple-A or with the White Sox, but I think he will certainly be given an opportunity to win the job in the spring. With Jeff Keppinger, Conor Gillaspie, and Marcus Semien as the other third base candidates, Davidson will undoubtedly get a chance to start at some point during the 2014 season.
Only time will tell if this trade works out, but it had to be done. As good as Addison Reed is, he is a closer and only appears in about 70 games for 70 innings a year. If Matt Davidson pans out, he’ll play in 150-plus games a year, or about 1,350 innings. Which player will impact a team greater if they both reach their full potential? I’ll take the everyday player 10 times out of 10.
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