Winter Meetings 2013: D’backs, White Sox and Angels GMs talk three-way

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Ah, there’s nothing quite like a good three-way. Trade, that is. And on Tuesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks, Angels and White Sox delivered a good one, effectively moving slugger Mark Trumbo to Arizona, pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago to Los Angeles, and Adam Eaton to the White Sox. You can check out our trade breakdown here. About an hour after the deal was confirmed, the three GMs of the teams, the Diamondbacks’ Kevin Towers, Angels’ Jerry Dipoto and Rick Hahn of the White Sox addressed the media at the Winter Meetings at the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando.

All three executives expressed their satisfaction with the deal, though Towers emphasized that the Diamondbacks were still very much on the lookout for a front of the rotation pitcher now that they’ve landed the big bat they coveted in Trumbo. Here are a few of the highlights from Tuesday’s press conference with the three GMs, which included the phrases “dirtbag baseball player” and “nice little three-way.” Double entendres for the win!

On how the three-team deal came into place:

Kevin Towers: Actually, Rick and I have been discussing Eaton for some time, probably over the last month. He just didn’t know if he had a direct fit at the time. We would have talked about Mr. Sale. I imagine we might have been doing something directly. But I still can't get him to budge there. Two days ago we met with Jerry. To me a lot about making trades is relationships. And somebody who worked alongside me a couple years ago who knows our system very well, and specifically Tyler, knew they were looking for young pitching and controllable pitching. We had a good, brief meeting and I sent him a text. “Can I get your attention in that Trumbo deal for Skaggs and Eaton?” “Sure. Why don't you come down and talk?” So that's where it all kind of began. I think he had more of a need for pitching and brought up Santiago's name to me. I said I think there might be a nice little three-way here because I know that Mr. Hahn and the White Sox really would like to have Eaton. They like their left-handed pitcher, like our left-handed pitcher. We like your right-handed power hitter, and it basically came together rather quickly. Probably within the last 24 hours.

On being excited about the three-way (hey now!):

Kevin Towers: I think we're all pretty excited about what transpired in the last half hour. We all addressed some of our biggest needs with us acquiring a power bat with Paul Goldschmidt, we'll give him some protection. Mark Trumbo coming from the Angels, and with Rick we'll get an opportunity to get a great leadoff guy in Adam that will be going to Chicago. But for us, we came here to these meetings looking for pitching and looking for power. We tried to add offense, and we've got a guy that we can control now for three years. Two of the probably better right-handed power bats in the National League, and excited for spring training. Excited to see how it all works. Had to give up a lot to get it, but I think we're all pretty happy with how things worked out.

Jerry Dipoto: For us we came in with a shopping list and looking for young, controllable starting pitching, guys that can make an impact in the big leagues sooner rather than later.  Feel like after Santiago's and Tyler Skaggs, we were able to address those needs. It doesn't come without its element of pain. Losing Mark Trumbo is not an easy thing for us to do. We love him as a player and a person and we'll miss him. But for us to sink our teeth into a 26-year-old and 22-year-old lefty, to move forward with, we feel like we have a very good move for our organization, and we're looking forward to seeing it get out there.

Rick Hahn: It's nice when you're able to have three clubs up here all feeling good about things. Obviously as Jerry pointed out, it does hurt a little bit, but it costs something to get something. Giving up Hector Santiago, a strong, young left-handed starting pitcher who was tremendous in our clubhouse and a great individual, he's going to be missed. But those who have followed our club closely [ed. note: or from afar], you know we had a number of positional player needs. We had a problem getting on base last year. We lacked a little bit of energy and a little edge. We weren't a real balanced lineup. And adding a guy like Adam Eaton at the top of the order, who is going to bring that energy, hit left-handed, play solid defense and get on base for us for the next five years is an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

On Trumbo moving to the outfield for the Diamondbacks:

Kevin Towers: Transitioning to the outfield in our place will be difficult and tough. I would say that the playing time at first base will be somewhat limited. Goldie is the type of guy that likes to be out there probably 155 games plus. But [Trumbo’s] a good athlete. As we saw with Goldschmidt, he was a guy that was a below average defender that turned himself into an above average defender, and everything we've gotten from Jerry and our scouts and people that know this kid well, the work ethic will be there and at least a solid, average defender in left field with a plus arm will be a huge offensive contributor.

On Adam Eaton and what he brings to the White Sox lineup:

Rick Hahn: The elbow injury wasn't something we felt and our medical people felt would be a long-term issue. We were able to see the same player who knew the strike zone and was able to work the count, had a short, compact, line drive stroke, ran well, obviously not affected by the elbow injury and still had the plus arm.

Balancing out the lineup too was another issue for us here that motivated us to get this done as well as the character of the individual. This is a dirtbag baseball player. This is a guy who has been described to me by someone at this table with words I can't use. But looking to give us an edge that we were lacking a little bit in recent months. He's a real nice kid for us. He's one of the names at the top of our target list. [We’ve] probably been a pain in KT’s side since he started the off‑season, and bugging him about Adam Eaton, which you can attest to. And we were able to work something out three ways to make everybody happy.

On what the Angels like about Tyler Skaggs:

Jerry Dipoto: Tyler has just turned 22 years old. He's an athletic left-hander with a three-pitch mix. He's performed his way through the minor leagues and about as clean a development as you'd like to see. Like a lot of guys who have had their Major League debuts at 20 years old, and I think he's had 13 starts as a 20 and 21-year-old, he's just learning to cut his teeth at this level. But as it pertains to this level as he's performed throughout his professional career, I feel like the next step is imminent for him. Hopefully this year is the start of that. It's an opportunity with us, and we look forward to having him.

On Skaggs and Santiago in the Angels’ rotation:

Jerry Dipoto: Right now they're both on the map for us as starting pitchers. There is a lot of time that has to transpire between now and Opening Day. One of the things we like most about Hector is his versatility. He's been successful in the big leagues as a starter and middle reliever. Right now we'd line up with both guys as starters in our equation, but there is still a lot that has to happen between now and Opening Day.

After the three-way press conference, I asked Kevin Towers about how Trumbo will fit in with the Diamondbacks from a personality perspective:

“I don’t know him personally,” Towers said. “But I know his agent Joel Wolfe very well and Rob Picciolo who used to be one of my coaches had him when he was there in Anaheim and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the individual. Community-minded, great teammate, that’s important. Over 162 games, to me character is very very important and I think we’re bringing not only a talented player but a guy who should fit in well in our clubhouse and be well-liked.”

Amanda Rykoff will be covering the Winter Meetings this week for The Outside Corner. Follow @amandarykoff for Twitter updates.