What was your initial reaction to the trade - did it take you by surprise, and what are your thoughts about joining the Diamondbacks?
I was definitely surprised. I knew that the White Sox were going to make some moves this off-season, and once Hector (Santiago) went last week, I wasn't even thinking about me. I was drafted by the White Sox, came up in their system, pitched for them the last two years. I just got back from working out, came home and I had two missed calls from the Chicago area-code. That hqs never happened before, so I kinda thought something might be happening! Definitely, initial reaction was shock, but then, after it all sqnk in, I couldn't be more happy. I'm playing in Arizona - sunny all the time! - and it's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to starting off in Arizona.
Do you expect to compete for4 the closer's job? Have you been told exactly what your role will be going in to spring training?
I'm going in to spring training, and I'm going try to do absolutely everything I can to prove to them that the ninth inning belongs to me, and I'm the guy for that job. It's pretty much like I've said from day one, with reporters in Chicago: closing's the only thing I've ever dreamed of, the only thing I've wanted to do. So I'm going to try and make their decision as tough as possible if they want to put me in any role other than the ninth inning. For right now, I'm not taking it for granted or thinking that I have that ninth inning as a lock or that it's my job. Right now, I'm trying to prepare myself as best I can for spring training, and hopefully win that job.
Have you talked to Kevin Towers about that situation?
He called me and said that I'm going to be fighting for that ninth-inning job, and to do everything I can to get ready for spring training and prepare myself to put up a good fight.
It's seems like you've settled in well into that role the last year and a half. How do you like it?
I love it. Growing up in southern California, going to Angels' games all the time, what sold me on being a closer was watching Troy Percival. Ever since, going to those games, seeing him pitch the ninth, it's the only thing I ever dreamed of, the only thing I wanted to do. The last two years, I've been fortunate enough to do that, and hopefully, I can be a closer until the day I throw my last pitch.
Talk about your out pitch, and your approach to a ninth-inning situation.
I like to think my out pitch is the slider, but last year, if I could locate my fastball, I felt confident as in that as my slider. But the majority of times, I got people with the slider. I like to think I can use all three of my pitches - my fastball, change-up and slider. It's something I want to work on this off-season, and hopefully when I need to punch somebody out, I have three options, rather than just one or two.
Coming over to the NL, is it going to be an education to have to learn hitters all over again?
Yes, definitely. Everybody knows that it's a different game in the National League, more small-ball, but I'm not going to look into it too much. Whoever's up at the plate, I'm obviously just trying to get them out. I'm not going to go away from my game and change the way I pitch; I'll just go after them the same way that I pitch to anybody. It doesn't matter to me who's in the box. The game might change a little bit, there might be more bunting and stealing, but the way I go at it when I'm on the mound, nothing's going to change for me.
When did you know on your own path that you were going to be a reliever rather than a starter?
It was my second spring training, I think it was. We sat down, me and a few of the coaches in the White Sox organization, and went over what I thought was the best fit for me, and what they thought was the best fit for me. And at the end of the meeting, I think we all came to the conclusion that relieving would be the best thing, and put me on the fastest track to the big leagues. That was 2011, and everything seemed to work out well, and it's been history ever since then.
It seems like your velocity might have dipped a little bit last year. Did you notice that yourself?
Me, physically, I felt fine, and I wasn't doing anything different. Honestly, it's nothing I'm too worried about, as long as I'm up there getting people out, that's the main thing that I'm concerned with.
How familiar are you with the Diamondbacks?
Not familiar at all! Pretty much the only thing I've known, since the day I was drafted, was the Chicago White Sox, and especially with the Diamondbacks being in the National League, I don't even think we've played them since I've been up in the big leagues. But Matt Thornton, he's good friends with J.J. Putz, so he already got me in contact with him, and he has already welcomed me to the team. I'm looking forward to it, I think it's going to be awesome.
Where do you call home these days?
I am in southern California right now, but for last four or five months, I've been starting to think about houses in Arizona. So it's kind of a coincidence that this call came today, and I think it has made my decision on finally pulling the trigger a little easier!
You get a free trip to Australia as well!
I was on the Internet maybe two minutes after I found out I was going over to Arizona, looking at their schedule, seeing who we played, and the first thing I saw was the Australia trip. I think that's going to be fun: I've never been there, and everything just worked out that it's happening the first week of the season.
Is the closer's job still an open competition in your mind now?
He certainly was very successful at it last year with the White Sox. We had our issues with the ballclub, and I told Gibby about it, haven't had a chance to talk to any of our pitchers about it. Haven't even had Addison in uniform yet with it, but I have to say, he's going to get every opportunity, and we're going to go with the best guy when spring training ends. And if that is Addison Reed, he will be our closer.
At the end of last season, you said you thought the 2014 closer was within the organization. Did that thinking change at some point?
As we got into the off-season and started looking at pitching in general, the player acquisition costs for the starters, as well as what we were going to have to give up in a trade, even where the free-agent market is right now. This came about at the winter meetings, when we were doing the three-way deal with the Angels. In conversation, Davidson's name came up, and I didn't even think Reed would be available. We didn't see any direct match with them. but through conversation, they said to us, if we were to talk to you about our closer, Addison Reed, would you have interest? Well, yes, [given] some of the issues we had in our bullpen, that we control this guy for four more years and the success that he had.
And really, with the depth that we had at the position. With [Jake] Lamb and [Brandon] Drury, two guys that are probably a little bit further away, looking at Prado being signed at least for the next three years, it was going to be difficult to get the at-bats for Davidson that I think he needs. For us to be able to get a young, controllable back end of the bullpen arm, which has had the type of success that he has had, and to move a player where we felt we has as much depth there, as we had at shortstop, allowed us to do it.
What does this leave on the checklist for this off-season?
I would say, still looking at starting pitching. More difficult to do something from the trade standpoint there, we're probably now focused more on free-agent pitching. Still trying to add to our bench. I'm hopeful we can still get something done with Eric Chavez, he's a big part of what we'd like to do, add a left-handed bat to our bench. So, maybe a couple of bench spots as well as starting pitching.
Have you been in contact with Eric or his agent lately? Do you think something might happen sooner rather than later?
I have been in touch with Eric, I have been in touch with his agent, saw him at the winter meetings. I think, talking to Eric and his adviser, I think both sides would like some kind of resolution before we break for the holidays. I'm hopeful, by the end of the week, we'll at least know, one way or the other, and I'm hoping it'll be him as a D-back.
Is the Tanaka situation going to hold things up, until they decide whether to post him or not?
As of right now, he's property of the Rakuten ball-club, and I think the less that we, as ball-clubs, talk about it right now, is a good thing. We're focusing on the guys that are here States-side, and if for some odd reason, he becomes posted, we'll circle back there.
Are you still hesitant to go longer than three years for a pitcher?
A lot really depends on who the pitcher is. I see us as being more cautious when it comes to term, than it is dollars. Not that dollars aren't important too, but I would say it's probably still an issue with us. Beyond three years, I think it'll probably be difficult for us to do something. Well, not difficult, just I don't think we feel comfortable going there.
Does moving Davidson have any effect on your ability to sign Chavez?
No. I know Chavez liked him a lot. I actually shared that with Matty, liked him a lot as a player. But we've got so many versatile, movable parts, I think if anything [signing Chavez is] more of a need, with Matty being gone, for someone who can man that third-base position. The days that you want to give Prado a day - not that he's looking for many - or if you want to give Aaron Hill a day, move Prado for second base, it allows you to have a little more balance in your line-up, lefty-righty. So it's probably more of a need.