A day full of rumors culminated in a blockbuster deal Tuesday night as the Cleveland Indians traded Shin-Soo Choo in a three-way deal with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The net result of for the Indians: They traded Choo, Tony Sipp, Jason Donald, and Lars Anderson for Trevor Bauer, Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw. Choo, Donald, and Sipp went to the Reds and Anderson was traded to the Diamondbacks. Cincinnati also sent Didi Gregorius to Arizona in the deal.
Bauer, who turns 22 in January, was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 MLB amateur draft and ranked ninth on Baseball America‘s 2012 Top Prospects list. He struggled in his MLB debut last year, going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA and allowing 13 walks in four starts, but that was after going 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in the high minors. He’s one of the most highly regarded pitching prospects in the game. He will reportedly start the season in Triple-A, but he could help out in Cleveland’s rotation very soon.
Stubbs, 28, is a toolsy outfielder who’s never fully reached his potential. This past season was a down year for Stubbs, as a high strikeout total (166 in just 544 plate appearances) and an uncharacteristically low BABIP (.290) doomed him to a Jose Lopez-esque .213/.277/.333 triple-slash. However, thanks to his great speed and solid glove FanGraphs still had him at a respectable 1.3 wins above replacement. He’ll presumably slide in as the Tribe’s starting center fielder.
Albers, who turns 30 next month, is a journeyman right-handed pitcher who had a breakout year in 2012, posting a 2.39 ERA in 60.1 innings for the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. His DIPS numbers suggest that some regression is in order—his .226 BABIP last year was over 70 points below his career rate—but he’ll provide nice depth to the bullpen now that Sipp is gone.
Shaw, 25, is another intriguing bullpen arm. The right-hander has a 3.18 ERA in 87.2 innings across a year and a half in the majors. At worst he’s likely to be a solid middle reliever.
Initial reaction: Fantastic deal for Cleveland. It’s hard to see Choo go, but this is a terrific haul for a trade centered around a player who would have been gone a year from now anyway.