The Rays added catcher Ryan Hanigan and potential closer Heath Bell, while the Reds and D-backs traded spare parts for prospects and contract relief. The deal was first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
The hot stove is hot right now, folks. Let's break this thing down:
• The Rays are acquiring the most needed-right-now pieces of this deal, getting Bell from the D-backs and Hanigan from the Reds. Bell looks like he'll get a chance to close to the Rays, since Fernando Rodney is a free agent. Bell closed a bit in 2013 for the D-backs, collecting 15 saves but was a setup man by season's end. He notched 132 saves for the San Diego Padres between 2009 and 2011, but his ERA skyrocketed in 2012 and 2013 — 5.09 in '12 and 4.11 last season.
• Hanigan was expendable in Cincinnati after the Reds signed Brayan Pena last month. Hanigan is more valuable behind the plate than he is with a bat. He's known for framing pitches well, throwing out base-stealers and leading a pitching staff. As people are saying, skipper Joe Maddon is going to love him. Hanigan had a particularly down year offensively in 2013, hitting .198/.306/.261. He is, however, a career .262/.359/.343 hitter. He's expected to start for the Rays, who also have Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton at catcher. Molina just re-signed with the Rays, leaving Lobaton as the odd man out. One rumor has him on his way to the Chicago White Sox.
• The Reds gets David Holmberg, a 22-year-old who has pitched in exactly one big league game for the D-backs. He spent most of 2013 in Double-A, where he had a 2.75 ERA in 26 starts. Holmberg was profiled last season by D-backs beat writer Nick Piecoro, who wrote the young pitcher didn't have amazing stuff, but he carried himself like a veteran pitcher.
• The D-backs are adding Justin Choate, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who played short season Single-A ball for the Rays in 2013. He finished his college baseball career earlier in the year at Stephen F. Austin, then was signed as a free-agent by Tampa Bay. He had a 2.88 ERA in 16 relief appearances. The D-backs are also getting a player to be named later or cash considerations in the deal. Arizona will save $5.5 million by trading Bell (they'll pay part of his $9 million salary), so they might be back in the market for relief pitching soon.
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