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Reds deal Hanigan, get LHP

Published 2:14am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Cincinnati Reds and reliever Heath Bell from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay sent minor league pitcher Justin Choate and a player to be named to the Diamondbacks. Arizona dealt left-hander David Holmberg to Cincinnati.

The deal was announced after Hanigan agreed to a $10.75 million, three-year contract that runs through 2016 an includes a club option for 2017.

The Reds traded a catcher they no longer needed for a left-handed pitching prospect.

Devin Mesoraco, their first-round draft pick in 2007, emerged as an everyday catcher last season when Hanigan was hurt. Mesoraco played in a career-high 103 games, batting .238 with nine homers and 42 RBIs. Hanigan was on the disabled list twice and batted only .198 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 75 games.

Hanigan caught both of Homer Bailey’s no-hitters in the last two seasons. The 33-year-old became expendable when the Reds decided after the season that they would make Mesoraco the starter. They signed catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year deal for $2,275,000, giving them a backup for Mesoraco.

“Devin Mesoraco will have the opportunity to become a front-line catcher for us,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “Holmberg provides us with the quality pitching depth that every team needs.”

The 22-year-old lefty was a Southern League All-Star last season. He went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA for Double-A Mobile, striking out 116 in 157 1-3 innings. He made his big league debut for Arizona against San Diego on Aug. 27.

Holmberg was drafted by the White Sox in the second round in 2009 and was traded to Arizona with right-hander Daniel Hudson in the deal for right-hander Edwin Jackson on July 30, 2010.

The 33-year-old Hanigan is expected to become Tampa Bay’s primary catcher. The trade was completed a day after free agent catcher Jose Molina was re-signed to a $4.5 million, two-year contract.

Bell will be a candidate to become the Rays’ closer.

Hanigan is a .262 career hitter who spent the past seven seasons with the Reds. He batted .198 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 75 games in 2013, when he spent two stints on the disabled list — one because of a strained left oblique muscle and the other a sprained left wrist.

Bell, 36, has 168 career saves over 10 major league seasons with the New York Mets, San Diego, Miami and the Diamondbacks. He led the majors with 132 saves for the Padres from 2009-11 and his 166 saves over the past five seasons are third the majors after Jonathan Papelbon’s 173 and Mariano Rivera’s 170.

Bell was 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA with 15 saves in 69 appearances for the Diamondbacks last season.

“It’s a fresh start,” said Bell, who’s looking forward to heading to the American League. “I do feel I can help this ballclub.”

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AP Baseball Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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