Arizona general manager Kevin Towers had been talking trade with Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn for a month when he arrived at the winter meetings last weekend and sent a text to Angels counterpart Jerry Dipoto.
"Can I get your attention in that Trumbo deal for Skaggs and Eaton?" he remembered writing.
"Sure, why don't you come down and talk?" Dipoto quickly replied, according to Towers.
Two days later, a three-team trade fell into place.
Chicago acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from Arizona for left-hander Hector Santiago, and the Diamondbacks then sent Santiago and left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels for slugger Mark Trumbo. Arizona also will receive player to be named or cash from each of the other clubs.
"It's nice when you're able to have three clubs up here all feeling good about things," Hahn said Tuesday during a news conference. "Obviously, as Jerry pointed out, it does hurt a little bit, but it costs something to get something."
Trumbo, 27, hit .234 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs this year, playing first base in 123 games because Albert Pujols was hurt. Despite hitting 95 homers during the last three seasons, the sometimes outfielder was deemed superfluous by Los Angeles, which craved starting pitching behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards.
"Right now we'd line up with both guys as starters," Dipoto said.
Chicago needing changes
After finishing last in the AL Central with their worst record since 1970 at 63-99, the White Sox were looking to make changes.
"We lacked a little bit of energy and a little edge," Hahn said. "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 defence and get on base for us for the next five years is an opportunity that was too good to pass up."
Santiago, 25, was 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 23 starts and 11 relief appearances. His fastball velocity has dipped from 93.8 mph in 2011 to 92.8 in 2012 to 91.8 last season, according to fangraphs.com.
Eaton, a 25-year-old speedy leadoff hitter, was sidelined from spring training until July 9 by a sprained left elbow. He hit .252 with three homers, 22 RBIs and 44 strikeouts in 250 at-bats for the Diamondbacks this year.
Skaggs, 22, went to Santa Monica High School, was taken by the Angels with the 40th overall selection of the 2009 amateur draft and was dealt to the Diamondbacks in August 2010 to complete the trade that brought Dan Haren to Los Angeles.
Skaggs made his big league debut in 2012, when he had six starts, but spent much of this year in the minors. He was 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA in seven starts this year for Arizona, leaving him with a 3-6 career mark.
All four players have low salaries for now. Trumbo and Santiago are on track to be eligible for salary arbitration after next season, Eaton following 2015 season and Skaggs after the 2016 season.