Can't say the trade of Matt Davidson comes as a surprise. Coming in to the off-season, I wouldn't have minded him getting a shot at 3B, with Martin Prado taking over in left for Jason Kubel. However, the arrival of Mark Trumbo appears to have ended any chance of Prado playing the outfield on more than a sporadic basis. With Prado locked in at third for the foreseeable future, the same-handed Davidson didn't offer any potential as a platoon partner, and was effectively surplus to requirements. For what it's worth, I'd also heard Davidson had some attitude issues, needing to be put in his place last spring, and that his September call-up was mostly for showcase purposes.
For Chicago, seems likely he will be the everyday starter, though our siblings at South Side Sox are somewhat puzzled, saying that the swap "adds to the confusion in the White Sox infield." Davidson will turn 23 during spring training, so there's clearly room to grow. How much that happens, may well depend on his strikeout rates, which have always been a cause for concern, with an overall K% of 23.% in the minors, rising to a hefty 26.8% for Triple-A Reno last season. That's part of the reason his batting average was .280, which isn't good for Reno and the PCL - applying our Reno adjustment drops his line to .200/.250/.341, though the projections for 2014 are more optimistic.
Since I turned it back on - 236/312/410, OPS+ 93 for Davidson in Chicago. Amusingly, his top comp is Mark Reynolds.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) December 16, 2013
Seems about right. In the longer term, John Sickels said, "In the majors he'll likely hit .240-.250, though perhaps more could be possible at his peak. On the positive side, he's improved his strike zone judgment with experience and even with a mediocre batting average, he should post a decent OBP." A legit question is whether Davidson's defense would be good enough to let him stick at the hot corner - if not, he'd have been even more blocked in Arizona Sickels says, "His glove isn't outstanding but it isn't terrible and has improved quite a bit over the last three seasons. He has a strong arm and decent enough range; he can hold the position if he hits enough."
However, Sickels also likes Reed for the Diamondbacks, saying "Although the "proven closer" concept is dangerous, I also like Addison Reed and I think he's capable of being much better than he's been so far, and given that he's been pretty good, that is saying something." It does seem a somewhat odd move for Arizona, considering that their bullpen appeared to be more or less set with the departure of Heath Bell, allowing Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez and J.J. Putz to occupy the high-leverage innings for them. So one wonders if this is a precursor to another move. Indeed, some think Reed's stay with the D-backs may be a short one.
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if this was not the end of the matter, though I would personally be more inclined to deal Putz away, leaving things in the hands of the younger and cheaper Reed. However, I can also see that the latter's value to another team may also be higher. If that proves to be the case, I guess, given Addison's original source, we can probably cross Chris Sale off the list of pitchers that might be involved!
One thing is clear: the Diamondbacks appear to be going all-in for 2014, converting the likes of Davidson, Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs into pieces which they believe address current holes and can help the team win this season. How much of that might be connected to the uncertain contract situation of Kevin Towers, whose job appears to be on the line, is hard to tell. On the plus side, at least the players acquired are under team control for several seasons, so it's not as if Towers has sold the (literal) farm off, for a bunch of one-year rentals. Now, just need to see what he does about the starting rotation.
And finally, you may wish to shuffle your Twitter follows around a little as a result of the trade. Reed is @Areed43. At least, unlike Mr. Trumbo and his already firmly-occupied #44, there should be no need for any awkward re-arrangement of jersey numbers and/or Twitter handles, since #43 was worn for us by Matt Langwell last season.