It seems the late-afternoon Knobblings evolved into a full scale swap, as the Reds and Indians did indeed exchange players, including the aforementioned Drew Stubbs and Shin-Soo Choo. But the eager Diamondbacks horned in on the action, getting their desperately needed shortstop and some bullpen support. The full deal is as follows:
|To Cincinnati||To Cleveland||To Arizona|
The Reds get their man. After posting some rather putrid numbers out of the leadoff spot in 2012, Cincy gets a high-OBP outfielder to slot ahead of the rest of their high OBP and power guys. They pay a pretty steep price for one year of Choo’s services in Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregoris.
Cleveland does very well in this deal, converting one year of Choo’s services and pre-arb utility man Jason Donald is into the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Trevor Bauer. Bauer became something of a sideshow for the Diamondbacks this year, thanks to his outspoken pitching beliefs and his controversial (and awesome) pregame long toss routine.
Despite all the hype and quick ascent to the big leagues, Bauer struggled with his control and battled — somewhat publicly — with Diamondbacks management in 2012. Strange that they new braintrust in AZ would sour on Bauer so quickly (previous GM Jerry Dipoto drafted the right-hander from UCLA.) Many still believe Bauer will reach his ceiling as a number two starter, they love his arsenal and #want. Others, myself included, are less than convinced. If his stuff is as good as advertised, why not trust it?
The Spiders also acquire Stubbs, a strong outfielder with moderate to severe contact issues – without the requisite power to offset the 30% strikeout rate. His speed isn’t well utilized walking back to the dugout after another strikeout but with three remaining years of control, Stubbs gives Cleveland time to upgrade.
Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw are relief pitchers. Everybody needs relievers. Albers was okay for the Red Sox once. Bryan Shaw throws with his right hand and was a five-time NBA champion as a player and coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Arizona gets something it waited weeks to double up on – a defense-first shortstop. After shipping Chris Young (aka Drew Stubbs‘ best case scenario) to Oakland in exchange for Cliff Pennington, the Snakes now have Didi Gregorius to fill in should anything happen to Cliff. Lots of tools but the usual concerns about the ability to stick at shortstop and/or hit in the big leagues that come with any up-the-middle prospect.
Arizona also acquires Lars Anderson, a prospect veering dangerously close to the “busted” end of the spectrum after his time in the Red Sox system elevated his stock. A first baseman yet to slug .500 above double-A is not a player upon which many hopes are hung.
Is Gregorius really the best haul Kevin Towers could muster for Trevor Bauer? What is the Diamondbacks play here, other than a much stronger belief in their new SS and a dimmer view of what Bauer offers both now and in the future.
The Reds want to win, they do. They want to win the NL Central and realize that beating the Cardinals in 2013 requires an upgrade in their offense. Choo will walk at the end of the year, clearing the way for Billy Hamilton.
For now the Reds eschew defense in exchange for slugging it out with the Cardinals and Brewers (?) in the NL Central. Cleveland builds towards the next good team, getting younger and cheaper, shrewdly buying low on a legit talent in Bauer.
Arizona? They get nicer? Less likely to extol the virtues of pitching up in the zone on twitter? We’re told the D-Backs will no longer consider offers for Justin Upton which, good? Maybe I’m crazy but they seem like a club headed in a weird direction, considering the recent activities of their division mates. It is entirely possible they are right about both Gregorius and Bauer but, for now, it leaves many scratching their heads.