|The Diamondbacks turned to rookie third baseman Ryan Wheeler for 21 starts in 2012, though those opportunities largely dried up after Arizona acquired Chris Johnson at the trade deadline. So with Johnson still in the fold, the D-backs decided to turn Wheeler into an asset for 2013, flipping him to the Rockies for 27-year-old lefty reliever Matt Reynolds.
“We are excited to add a versatile and experienced lefthanded reliever to the bullpen,” Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said in a press release. “He’s very familiar with our division and has been a workhorse for the last couple seasons, so we expect he can continue to do that for us.”
The release also states that Reynolds, during the 2011-12 seasons, ranks third to Sean Marshall and Jonny Venters in games pitched by a lefty. Last season, Reynolds allowed lefties to hit .269/.325/.433 with two homers in 121 plate appearances.
|Ryan Wheeler, 3b
Age: 23. Born: Jul 10, 1988 in Torrance, Calif.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 235.
Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Loyola Marymount.
Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in fifth round of 2009 draft; signed June 15, 2009.
A key part of Triple-A Reno’s high-octane offense, Wheeler took advantage of having minor league batting champion Adam Eaton and Jake Elmore in front of him, driving in 90 runs in 93 games for the Aces. By the time Reno rolled through the Pacific Coast League playoffs and won the Tripe-A National Championship, he was in the big leagues. Wheeler is a solid hitter with a line-drive swing and approach. He’s aggressive to a fault at times but has a quick, low-maintenance stroke and can catch up to good fastballs, using the whole field. He doesn’t have profile power for the corners, and he’s a fringy defender at third with just enough arm strength and range to be playable. He should be able to buy top prospect Nolan Arenado more time at third, or contribute at first for injury-prone veteran Todd Helton.
|Matt Reynolds, lhp
Age: 27. Remaining Commitment: Under club control for four seasons, 2013-16 ($481,000 salary in 2012).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.