Late this afternoon, we brought you the news of the Reds and Indians discussing a trade that would send Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati for Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius. Well, the trade was expanded to include the Diamondbacks, and the haul got substantially better for Cleveland. In addition to Stubbs, the Indians also acquired Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks, while sending Gregorius, Tony Sipp, and Lars Anderson to Arizona. Jason Donald also goes from the Indians to the Reds with Choo in the trade.
I went over the implications of the Choo/Stubbs swap earlier today, so I won't repeat myself here. Donald's acquisition by the Reds is really just a matter of bench depth, and maybe not even that. The main part of the deal I want to focus on is Kevin Towers finally getting his shortstop, but at a large price: the third overall pick in the 2011 draft in Trevor Bauer.
Bauer's stock had taken a huge hit in Arizona this summer after walking 13 hitters in 16 1/3 major league innings. Despite those brief struggles in the majors, Bauer is still just 21 years old (22 in January), and projects as a top of the rotation starter. For the Diamondbacks to give up on him after one full pro season is very odd, and just seems like a marriage that was destined not to work. In 146 2/3 innings last season between the majors and minors, he struck out 173 batters. And you're giving up on him for Gregorius, a prospect with a bat so weak that Elvis Andrus might be his ceiling? It's a very strange move from the Diamondbacks, but it could have been worse: they could have traded Justin Upton to get someone the caliber of Gregorius, which would have been even more of a disaster.
As for the rest of the particulars, there's not a lot to get excited about. Anderson is a former Red Sox top prospect at first base that has seen his star go completely dim in recent years. He's really just organizational fodder at this point in time. Sipp had a 4.42 ERA last year for the Indians out of the bullpen, allowing nine homers in 55 innings, a problem that will be exacerbated in Arizona. Albers and Shaw are both superior pitchers to him. Albers spent 2012 split between the Red Sox and Diamondbacks, posting a 2.39 ERA in 60 1/3 innings despite a 44:22 strikeout to walk rate and nine homers allowed. Shaw had a 3.49 ERA for Arizona in 59 1/3 innings in 2012, and gets a decent bit of groundballs. Both will likely slot into the middle innings in Cleveland's pen, though Shaw shouldn't be allowed to face lefties under any circumstances.
All in all, the Indians did extremely well for themselves in this trade, acquiring four players that will likely be on their Opening Day roster in exchange for a minor league depth piece, a free agent at the end of the season, and a bench bat. As for the Reds and Diamondbacks...their haul really depends on whether or not Choo is able to play a competent center field in Cincinnati in 2013, and whether or not Gregorius' bat evolves to the point where it's at least not killing the Diamondbacks.
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