Danny Knobler of CBS Sports is reporting that the Reds and Indians are working on a trade that would sent Cleveland right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati in exchange for center fielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius. The Indians would also be sending another player to the Reds in the trade, and would be using Choo as the team's center fielder to replace Stubbs and as their leadoff hitter.
On the surface, this seems like a bit of a weak return for the Indians, but that might be a little bit of a short-sighted approach. Gregorius is still very young (23 in February), and could serve as a solid bridge at shortstop between the soon-to-be-traded Asdrubal Cabrera and heavily hyped prospect Francisco Lindor. The Indians could get creative with Stubbs and Michael Brantley in some combination in left and center field, but the team would still need a right fielder to replace Choo, and would likely continue sticking their nose in the free agent market. Cleveland has already been tied to Shane Victorino (who signed in Boston) and Nick Swisher this winter.
But on the other hand, I'm not sure if Choo is the same player he was in 2009 and 2010, when he was one of the most underrated players in baseball. Choo missed nearly half of Cleveland's games in 2011, and despite playing a full season this past year, saw his power numbers take a dip. Choo's defensive numbers in right field were also ghastly last year, and he's played a total of 83 innings in his major league career in center field. So maybe this isn't so bad for the Cleveland side of things, but just an indictment on how much the 30-year old Choo's stock has fallen.
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