Rick Hahn and the Chicago White Sox have continued their march through the Hot Stove. Today, he turned the volume to 11 by trading White Sox closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks for third base prospect Matt Davidson. While Adam Eaton was slated to start with the Diamondbacks at the beginning of last season, Davidson spent most of his season at Triple-A Reno with some late season time with Arizona.
To start, where would he fit in with the White Sox top 10 prospects?
Davidson is a 6-2, 225 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born March 26, 1991. As his track record shows, he's a solid source of power and knocks 20 homers a year. He strikes out a lot and his batting averages are less impressive; the .280 at Reno isn't robust by PCL standards and his career minor league average stands at .268. 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.
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.
ANALYSIS: I expect Davidson can be a .250/.330/.450 hitter and his new home park will play to his strengths. He turns 23 in March, doesn't have anything left to prove in the minors, and should have a long and productive career.
In the broader view, the White Sox minor league system was disparaged during the early part of last season. It's lack of a top 100 prospect outside of Courtney Hawkins was a big problem. With no help at the top of the system, the troubles last season seemed insurmountable. With the trades made starting at the July trade deadline, the White Sox have suddenly gained a lot of ground.
Johathan Mayo at MLB.com and Mike Newman at ROTOscouting discussed Davidson over Twitter earlier today. While Newman is OK with the deal, he is less confident at the idea of Davidson playing 3B.
Jason Parks, however, is far less impressed.
I'm not a big Davidson fan, which is to say I never really loved the profile or the stick. Not a 1st division player. I'd rather have Reed.— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) December 16, 2013
... but does see some potential upside.
At the end of it all, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs seems to sum it all up nicely.
Davidson could be a long-term piece. He could bust, but a bad team is better off swapping a possible long-term reliever for a possible long-term infielder. In the Eaton trade, the White Sox turned a low-ceiling possible long-term starter into a possible long-term outfielder. In the Avisail Garcia trade, they turned a short-term starter into a possible long-term outfielder. The Sox also paid for Jose Abreu, and Chris Sale is under contract for a long time. There’s a core there that might take shape around the staff ace. There are also a lot of questions, and the core is by no means proven, but it hasn’t taken Hahn long to infuse the upper levels with players who could be around for a while.
At the end of the day, competitive teams need better bullpens, and rebuilding teams need better players. The Diamondbacks upgraded their bullpen. The White Sox upgraded their future. Rick Hahn seems to have done better than Kevin Towers did, and for the second time in a very short while, Hahn has added to Chicago’s potential core at Arizona’s expense.
Finally, are the Sox done with their moves?
Hahn on future moves: "Nothing is one call away just yet." Said something like that Thursday and they finished Davidson deal Friday— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) December 16, 2013