GLENDALE, Ariz. - The White Sox acquired left-handed hitting third baseman Conor Gillaspie from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor-league right-hander Jeff Soptic on Friday. General manager Rick Hahn, who has been looking for a left-handed bat, views Gillaspie as a complementary player to third baseman Jeff Keppinger.
Gillaspie, a 25-year-old Giants first-round sandwich pick in 2008, took only 96 days to reach the majors but hasn't played to the initial high expectations. He batted .281 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI in 108 games for AAA Fresno last season and played in six games with the Giants, going 3-20 with two RBI.
"He conceivably fits in nicely on the roster, which we'll obviously decide more about toward the end of next month,'' general manager Rick Hahn said. "But we see him having a solid hit tool, above-average awareness of the strike zone, solid defensively. He gives us a little versatility in his ability to play third base as well as first. He gives Robin some options potentially.''
In five minor league seasons, Gillaspie owns a .287 average, .358 on-base percentage and has 37 homers and 259 RBI in 514 games.
Hahn said Gillaspie "has a good recognition of the strike zone, is able to get on base, work the count a bit. Although he's not your prototypical power guy at third base he does spray the ball around pretty well and has a nice line-drive approach, which should play well in our park.''
Hahn said Gillaspie grades out as "solid average.''
"He was I think mildly knocked a bit for that earlier in his career when he first got pushed up,'' Hahn said. "But it has progressed and our scouts like what they have seen in the last year-plus from him.''
Soptic, 21, was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 27 relief appearances with Class A Kannapolis in 2012. The Sox drafted him in the third round in 2011.
To make room for Gillaspie on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated infielder Lars Anderson for assignment. Anderson was claimed off waivers from Arizona on February 1.
Asked what the trade means for third baseman Brent Morel, who has looked healthy this spring and is attempting to re-establish himself after dealing with a back injury last season, Hahn said, "Let's see how the next several weeks unfold. We haven't even played our first Cactus League game to then start saying this guy's in or this guy's out is way premature.
"There's an element of competition now for the infield positions and Brent's a part of that. Brent has looked good, Brent has looked healthy. He's swinging the bat well. He's moving around well. The key is let's continue with that and we'll figure out the roster when the time comes.''