The Arizona Diamondbacks addressed one area of need and may have settled another when they acquired left-hander Matt Reynolds from the Colorado Rockies for third baseman Ryan Wheeler two days before Thanksgiving.
Adding a left-hander to the bullpen was one of general manager Kevin Towers' goals entering the offseason, and Reynolds will be given every chance to take over the role of situational specialist, something the D-backs lacked in 2012.
"We are excited to add a versatile and experienced left-handed reliever to the bullpen," Towers said in a press release.
Wheeler's departure leaves Chris Johnson as the only true third baseman on the 40-man roster, although Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald have played there before. Johnson, acquired from Houston at the trade deadline last season, hit .286 with seven homers and 35 RBI in 44 games with the D-backs.
Towers also said an offseason priority was to upgrade the left side of the infield, and it would not be a surprise if the D-backs continued to kick the tires at third base at the winter meetings, perhaps before.
Johnson, 28, is entering his first season of arbitration eligibility, and the D-backs must tender him a contract by Nov. 30 or he becomes a free agent. He likely would earn about $2.75 million in arbitration, a significant raise from the $500,000 he earned this year.
The D-backs already have acquired shortstop Cliff Pennington to tweak the left side of the infield, although they may not be done there, either. Pennington and setup man Heath Bell arrived in a three-team trade with Oakland and Miami that sent Chris Young to the A's.
Reynolds, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, was 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA in 165 games in the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Rockies. The only lefties to appear in more than Reynolds' 144 games in 2011-12 were Jonny Venters and Sean Marshall.
Reynolds fits the Towers specs in that he throws strikes. He walked only 17 (13 unintentionally) in 57 1/3 innings last season. Reynolds also should benefit from a change of venue. He has a career 4.34 ERA at Coors Field and a 3.33 ERA on the road.