Matt Davidson Rumors

AL Notes: Abreu: White Sox, Red Sox, Rays

Jared S. Hopkins of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required) chronicles the travails Jose Abreu underwent in leaving his native Cuba for America. Full details of Abreu’s journey remain a secret (Abreu and his agents have declined to discuss his defection and an interview with Abreu’s mother, to which to she had agreed, was cancelled by one of the slugger’s associates), but Hopkins was able to piece together how Abreu and his brother-in-law took a boat from Cuba to Haiti in August 2013 leaving behind his young son and family, reaching out to the Orioles’ Henry Urrutia for help after leaving Cuba, and living in the Dominican Republic for three months before landing his $68MM contract with the White Sox. The article also delves into the role smugglers and their networks play in ferreting players out of Cuba for promises upward of 30% of the players’ first contract. Abreu is expected to be named the AL Rookie of the Year tomorrow.

In other news about Abreu’s White Sox and the American League:

  • Earlier today, we learned the White Sox will meet this week with Pablo Sandoval‘s representatives during the GM Meetings in Phoenix. However, if the right third base upgrade cannot be found, the White Sox are comfortable with a platoon of Conor Gillaspie and Marcus Semien, reports CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. The White Sox also have Matt Davidson on their 40-man roster, but Hayes notes the 23-year-old struggled in a homer-friendly park at Triple-A Charlotte (.199/.283/.362 in 539 plate appearances).
  • The free agent expenditures by the Red Sox this offseason could be shaped by who will be available in free agency next winter, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. With a solid free agent class of starting pitchers and a dearth of third baseman next offseason, MacPherson opines the Red Sox may stretch the budget this year for Sandoval, Chase Headley, or Hanley Ramirez.
  • Rays players are rallying around Dave Martinez to replace Joe Maddon as manager, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.
  • Within the same article, Topkin speculates the trade of left-hander Cesar Ramos was the first of what could be several moves by the Rays to create roster spots by dealing players who may be too expensive or no longer fit and receive something in return. Sean Rodriguez (projected by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz to earn $2MM through arbitration) could be one of those moves, according to Topkin.

Diamondbacks Acquire Addison Reed For Matt Davidson

The Diamondbacks announced that they have acquired Addison Reed from the White Sox in exchange for third baseman Matt Davidson. MLB.com's Steve Gilbert first reported that the trade was on the verge of happening (on Twitter).

Reed-Addison

Reed, 24, has saved 69 games for the White Sox over the past two seasons, posting a 4.20 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 126 1/3 innings in that time. Sabermetric stats such as FIP (3.38) and SIERA (3.33) feel that Reed's ERA should have been substantially lower in that time. The Diamondbacks will control Reed through the 2017 season and he is not arbitration eligible until next offseason, making him a highly affordable piece to add to the back-end of their bullpen.

Davidson, 23 in March, made his big league debut in 2013, slashing .237/.333/.434 with three homers in 87 plate appearances. The 2009 supplemental-rounder entered the 2013 campaign ranked as Baseball America's No. 88 overall prospect and MLB.com's No. 77 overall prospect. Davidson delivered on that praise by slashing .280/.350/.481 with 17 homers in 500 plate appearances prior to his promotion to the big leagues. He is controllable through the 2019 season and can't reach arbitration eligibility until at least the 2016-17 offseason.

Reed will step into the ninth-inning role for the Diamondbacks, relegating J.J. Putz and Brad Ziegler to setup duties. Arizona GM Kevin Towers has added some youth to his bullpen while shedding the salary of Heath Bell over the past week.

Davidson, meanwhile, can fill a long-term need for the White Sox, ideally solidifying third base for the South Siders for years to come. White Sox third basemen batted .249/.294/.352 last season, so Davidson should eventually displace the projected platoon of Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger. He will join an increasingly young core for the White Sox consisting of Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Jose Dariel Abreu.

Arizona's acquisition of Mark Trumbo last week (a trade on which Towers and White Sox GM Rick Hahn also lined up) pushed Martin Prado back to third base on a full-time basis for the Snakes, likely leading to the belief that Davidson had become expendable (Prado is under contract for three more seasons). The White Sox could look to the free agent market to add any number of closer-types available, or they could elect to stay in-house and use flamethrower Nate Jones in the ninth inning.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.