GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Byrnes feels a certain sense of pride that Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson were acquired to be part of the White Sox foundation.
Now the San Diego Padres general manager, Byrnes was the GM in Arizona who presided over the drafts that yielded the two for the Diamondbacks. In the hope they can become everyday players the White Sox acquired both in separate December trades. Even though he’s long removed from his days in Arizona, Byrnes said he feels attached to the pair, one of whom was drafted in the first round and the other in the 19th round.
“It’s only natural,” Byrnes said. “You always follow the players you were part of drafting and developing. It rarely goes in a straight line, there’s usually something that happens. In this case they both got traded so I’ll watch them more closely than I would some other players just because of my history with them.”
Eaton and Davidson couldn’t be more dissimilar.
Davidson is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound third baseman with big power and first-round talent. The Diamondbacks selected him in the supplemental round of the 2009 draft with the 35th overall pick.
Meanwhile, Eaton is on the opposite end of the food chain from Davidson, standing at 5-8, 185 pounds. An on-base machine who has always been overlooked because of his size, Eaton needed someone to take a risk and Byrnes and Co. were willing.
Since they selected Eaton with the 571st overall pick in 2010 he has produced a .450 on-base percentage in the minors.
“They’re two different stories,” Byrnes said. “In terms of who he has become in his timeline, (Davidson’s) probably done what we’ve hoped and expected which doesn’t always happen in the draft. Eaton, our first-year area scout Frankie Thon, kind of pounded the table for him and we took him and from the day he put on a professional uniform he has performed.”
Some of that performance has come against the Padres, where Byrnes has been the GM since 2012. In 88 games in the majors, Eaton has faced the Padres 14 times. Davidson reached the majors last August and played San Diego three times.
Seeing how the two have developed, Byrnes suspects they will become big-time contributors. Thankfully he won’t have to face them often aside from interleague play.
Asked if their exit from the NL West makes it easier to see his one-time prospects succeed, Byrnes begrudgingly agreed, though you get the sense he wouldn’t mind if he still controlled their contracts.
“I guess so,” Byrnes said.