D-backs deal Wheeler to Rockies for lefty reliever Reynolds, leaving Johnson as lone third baseman.
By JACK MAGRUDER FS Arizona
PHOENIX – The Diamondbacks added left-hander Matt Reynolds to the bullpen, an off-season target area, while appearing to tidy up third base at the same time Tuesday.
The D-backs acquired Reynolds from Colorado for Ryan Wheeler, making Reynolds the only lefty in the bullpen and leaving Chris Johnson as the only true third baseman on the roster, although Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald have played there before.
Johnson, acquired at the trading deadline last year, should get a raise of at least $2 million, to close to $2.75 million, if the D-backs offer him a contract by the Nov. 30 deadline for arbitration eligible players, and third base appears to be his unless the D-backs pull off another deal.
At the same time, general manager Kevin Towers said at the end of the season that the D-backs were looking for help on the left field side of the infield. They acquired shortstop Cliff Pennington and setup man Heath Bell from Chris Young in a three-team trade with Oakland on Oct. 20.
Reynolds, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, has spent the last 2 ½ seasons with the Rockies, where he was 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA in 165 games. Only Jonny Venters and Sean Marshall have appeared in more than Reynolds’ 144 games the last two seasons.
Reynolds fits the Towers profile – he throws strikes. Reynolds walked 17 (13 unintentionally) in 57 1/3 innings last season. He also should benefit from a change of venue. Reynolds has a career 4.34 ERA at Coors Field and a 3.33 ERA on the road.
“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,” Towers said.
Reynolds will get a shot at the vacant left-handed specialist role, although his splits show him to be more of a Greg Swindell-type. Righties have hit .259 against Reynolds in 266 plate appearances, and lefties have hit .262 in 244.
Wheeler hit .239 in 27 games after joining the D-backs in mid-July last season, his first in the major leagues. He was leading the minor leagues with 90 RBI at Class AAA Reno when he was promoted.
Johnson, 28, hit .286 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 44 games with the D-backs last season.
NOTES: The D-backs added five players to the 40-man roster at the deadline Tuesday night, although they did not release the names until Wednesday. Right-handers Chase Anderson, Charles Brewer and Eric Smith, left-hander Eury de la Rosa and outfielder Keon Broxton were added, leaving the 40-man roster at 37. Anderson, who played for Matt Williams' Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, struck out four in two innings in the Nov. 3 Rising Stars game, which featured top prospects from every organization. ... Shortstop Gustavo Nunez, who played 14 games in the Pittsburgh organization last season and 96 in the Detroit organization in 2011, was added earlier. Nunez, 24, was signed by the Tigers as a free agent from San Pedro de Macoris, D.R., in 2007.