Tribe Trades Choo to Cincinnati in Three-Team Deal for Stubbs and D-Backs’ Bauer
By Mike Brandyberry
The Cleveland Indians have traded outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in part of a three-team deal with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Indians dealt Choo and infielder Jason Donald to Cincinnati for Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs and Diamondbacks starting pitcher Trevor Bauer and right-handed relief pitchers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. The Indians sent Didi Gregorius from the Reds, plus left-handed relief pitcher Tony Sipp, minor league first baseman Lars Anderson and cash considerations to the Diamondbacks
Choo, a right fielder with the Indians, is expected to become the Reds center fielder. Cincinnati hopes to recuperate what they will lose in Choo’s defense with his increased offense. Choo rebounded from an injury-riddled 2011 to hit .283, with 16 home runs and 67 runs batted in during 2012, primarily in the Tribe’s leadoff spot. It is expected that Cincinnati will insert him into the top of their order to hit in front of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.
According to MLBTradeRumors.com Choo is projected to make $7.9 million in 2013 through salary arbitration. As a Scott Boras client, it was widely believed that he would not resign in Cleveland when he became a free agent after this upcoming season. Boras referred to the Indians as a “developmental team,” last month, citing his belief that the Tribe is not dedicated to winning.
The Indians may have made the most out of trading Choo–a player deemed just a week ago at the Winter Meetings to have little trade value because of his Boras representation–by obtaining Bauer and Stubbs. Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, made his Major League debut on June 28 last season. He was the first player from his draft class to make the big leagues (Cody Allen was second). However, in only four big league starts, Bauer was 1-2, with a 6.06 ERA in 16.1 innings.
While Bauer may have not quite been ready for the big leagues in 2012, he did have great success at Double-A and Triple-A, going a combined 12-2, with a 2.42 ERA in 22 minor league starts. The Indians will most likely give Bauer every chance to make the Tribe’s 25-man roster and starting rotation out of Spring Training.
Cleveland also receives the center fielder Stubbs from the Reds. Stubbs completed his third full season in the big leagues in 2012, hitting a career-low .213, with 14 home runs, driving in 40 runs and stealing 30 bases. Stubbs led the National League in strikeouts in 2011 with 205 and added 166 more whiffs this past season. Cleveland is waiting for Mark Reynolds to pass his physical and finalize a contract for 2013, led the American League in strikeouts in 2011. Stubbs is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career this winter and is projected to make $2.9 million.
Stubbs, another new right-handed bat to the Tribe’s lefty-heavy lineup, is a natural center fielder. He has only played center field in the big leagues, so it is assumed Michael Brantley would shift back to left field and create an open void in right field. The Indians have been linked to free agent right fielder, Nick Swisher.
While no trade can be considered an immediate success or failure, Cleveland has to be happy to obtain two Major League caliber players for a free-agent-to-be. The Indians were rumored to be pursuing Bauer last week at the Winter Meetings in trades involving Asdrubal Cabrera.
Albers, split the 2012 season between the Boston Red Sox and Arizona, going a combined 3-1 with a 2.39ERA in 63 relief appearances. Over Albers’ final 11 outings with the D-Backs in September he posted an ERA of 1.80. On the year with Boston and Arizona he limited left-handed batters to a .207 (17-82) average against.
Shaw, spent most of the 2012 season in the Arizona bullpen where he went 1-6 with 2 saves and a 3.49ERA in 64 relief appearances. He debuted with the D-Backs in June 2011 and owns a two-year career Major League record of 2-6 with a 3.18ERA in 97 relief outings.
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