Over at the SweetSpot, Dave Schoenfield lists some potential blockbuster trades and ponders whether or not they make sense for the teams involved. I won’t bother going into all of them (check out the original piece if you’d like to see them), but I would like to take some time to consider the proposed deal that involves the Indians and determine whether or not I would pull the trigger if I were in Chris Antonetti’s shoes.
In this scenario, there are three teams involved in the deal – the Indians, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Seattle Mariners. This is what each team would surrender and receive:
Surrender – Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Vinnie Pestano. Receive – RHP Trevor Bauer, LHP Danny Hultzen, and RHP Hector Noesi.
Surrender – OF Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer. Receive – Asdrubal Cabrera, Vinnie Pestano, and OF Michael Saunders.
Surrender – LHP Danny Hultzen, OF Michael Saunders, and RHP Hector Noesi. Receive – Justin Upton and Shin-Soo Choo.
The reasoning behind this proposed trade is that it benefits all parties. The Indians, who are desperate for pitching, receive three arms in the deal. The Diamondbacks need a shortstop and help in the bullpen, and would like to part ways with Bauer, who supposedly has fallen out of favor with the organization. The Mariners really need offensive help, and it comes at the cost of two pitchers and an outfielder.
First, let’s look at the pitchers the Indians would receive in the deal:
Trevor Bauer, RHP – The 21-year-old, first round draft pick in 2011 (third overall), Bauer has logged just 16.1 major league innings this far in his career, going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA, and 1.653 WHIP. His minor league numbers in 2012 were much better – he went 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 1.221 WHIP in 48.1 innings with Double-A Mobile, and 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 1.329 WHIP in 82 innings pitched at Triple-A Reno.
Danny Hultzen, LHP – Going into 2012, the 22-year-old Hultzen was ranked #21 among all prospects by Baseball America. Drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft by Seattle (second overall), Hultzen skipped over the low minors and went directly to Double-A to start the 2012 season. With the Double-A Jackson Generals, Hultzen went 8-3 with a 1.19 ERA and an 0.929 WHIP in 75.1 innings pitched. He took a step back when he moved up to Triple-A Tacoma, going 1-4 with a 5.92 ERA and a 1.890 WHIP in 48.2 innings pitched. Even with the decline, it’s still not shabby when you consider it’s his first year in professional baseball.
Hector Noesi, RHP – The 25-year-old Noesi was originally signed as an international free agent by the New York Yankees in 2004; he was traded to Seattle in the deal that also sent Jesus Montero to the Mariners and brought Michael Pineda to New York. In 56.1 innings pitched with the Yankees in 2011, he went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.509 WHIP. With Seattle in 2012, he went 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA and a 1.369 WHIP in 106.2 innings pitched. He held the Indians to one earned run over 6.1 innings pitched on May 17, although with the way their offense struggled that’s not a huge surprise. He was sent down to Tacoma after his July 4 loss to the Orioles, and returned in September and pitched primarily out of the bullpen. In 64.1 innings in Tacoma, Noesi went 2-6 with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.585 WHIP; over seven minor league seasons, his averages are a bit better – a 3.54 ERA and a 1.172 WHIP. He missed time after he had Tommy John surgery in 2007.
There are things I really like about this proposed deal, and things I really dislike. Part of me wonders if I dislike aspects of this because I’m an Indians fan, because I want the deal to obviously be weighted towards them. When most fans fantasize about ways to improve their team, they’re not necessarily thinking to themselves “so how can this work for everyone?” You’re really thinking “how can my team best rip off all of the other teams?” Here are what I see as the pros and cons of this:
- The Indians desperately need young pitching. Even if the Ubaldo Jimenez deal never takes place, there’s still no guarantee that Alex White and Drew Pomeranz could have saved this situation on their own. I think that White will eventually end up in the bullpen, and Pomeranz is just one guy – the Indians need several pitchers. This is a way to stockpile young pitching, which was key to Oakland’s surprise 2012 run.
- Shin-Soo Choo may not net a large return. Teams know that he plans to test the market at the end of the year, and they know he really doesn’t have a future in Cleveland beyond 2013. This may be a way to maximize his return.
- With Bauer and Hultzen the Indians would have two pitchers drafted in the top five slots of the 2011 draft. If these two pan out, along with the Tribe’s eighth overall pick of Francisco Lindor, the Indians would have a phenomenal amount of talent from that draft class. Statistically, the Indians had the worst pitching staff in the AL in 2012. With these two at the top of the rotation, they would have a solid 1-2 punch for a number of years (until they flipped one or both for prospects).
- I’m not impressed by Hector Noesi, despite his rather impressive performance against the Indians earlier this year. He reminds me a lot of Jeanmar Gomez, and do the Indians really need to deal with two Jeanmar Gomezes?
- Why are the Diamondbacks so anxious to get rid of Trevor Bauer? He seems to have a lot of potential; even if you’re not seeing eye to eye with him, are you really prepared to let him go after just 16.1 major league innings pitched? I feel like something else is going on here – either he’s a head case, or he’s difficult to get along with, or he’s an injury waiting to happen. There’s no reason to believe that all of these problems disappear if he comes to Cleveland. (Although I should add that a change of scenery obviously worked well for Brandon Phillips).
- If the Indians trade all three of these guys and don’t receive at least one outfielder in the process, how is that going to work next season? Are they going to have revolving doors in both left and right? Unless there’s some other trade or free agent signing on the horizon (and they don’t have many people left to trade after this, without creating other holes) the only reliable presence in the outfield next season would be Michael Brantley.
- I’m not down with Vinnie Pestano being the guy to leave, although I understand that he’d probably be more coveted than Chris Perez.
I guess when you really get down to it, there’s more that I dislike in this deal. With some slight tweaks, I may be more amenable to something like this. Perhaps a Perez for Pestano substitute, and Saunders coming to Cleveland along with some pitching. Like I said, I’m obviously looking out for the Indians’ best interests, and am not concerned about what is fair for the other teams. I’d rather see no deal go down though, than yet another bad deal.