After a few weeks of flirting with various teams and trade rumors about any number of players, the Indians completed a three-team, nine-player trade with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks.

We sent right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald (as well as some cash) to Cincinnati and LHP Tony Sipp, newly acquired infielder Lars Anderson and “cash considerations” to Arizona.  The Reds also sent infielder Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks. What did we get for all of this? From the Diamondbacks, we received RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Matt Albers, and RHP Bryan Shaw and outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Reds.

Bauer was the 2011 Golden Spikes Award winner and National Player of the Year and was picked third overall by Arizona in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Baseball America named him the 9th overall prospect in minor league ball going into the 2012 season. He only pitched 156 innings in the minors (for a 3.00 ERA and 1.327 WHIP). He started four games for Arizona last year for a total of 16.1 innings (6.06 ERA and 1.653 WHIP). His funky mechanics are pretty well-known, but if you want to see them in slow motion, he’s posted some videos of himself on YouTube. Say what you might about how this might reflect on the size of his ego, but I don’t see much downside to this acquisition.

Stubbs was drafted by the Reds in the 1st round (8th pick) of the 2006 amateur draft and has spent parts of four seasons in the majors.  His major league career numbers are .241 AVG/.312 OBP/.386 SLG. He’s quick, with 30 stolen bases and 75 runs scored in 2012 (but only 40 RBI). He’s one of six major league players to steal at least 30 bases in three consecutive seasons. He also strikes out a lot. In 2010, he was 6th in the NL in strikeouts, 1st in 2011, and 5th in 2012. He’s actually one of only two MLB players to record more than 200 strikeouts in a season (the other is recent acquisition Mark Reynolds).  I want to like Drew Stubbs, but I’m ambivalent right now.

Albers is  kind of a journeyman pitcher. He was drafted by the Astros in the 23rd round of the 2001 amateur draft and spent two seasons as an Astro, three as an Oriole, one and a half as a Red Sox, and became a Diamondback at the trade deadline last season. Albers has a career 4.68 ERA and 1.481 WHIP. He had a great September for Arizona,with a 1.80 ERA in his final 11 appearances (10 innings pitched).  Albers is 29, so he should have a few good seasons left. I’m slightly hopeful that he can be a solid reliever.

Shaw is 25 and was drafted by Arizona in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft. He moved up through their ranks pretty quickly, with his major league debut coming June 10, 2011. He spent most of the 2012 season in the Diamondbacks bullpen, but did spend two weeks at AAA Reno. Career, he has a 3.18 ERA and 1.392 WHIP. He could be a reliable addition to the bullpen.

Well, we needed pitching, we got pitching. Well done, gentlemen. We still haven’t landed the big bat we need in the lineup. I don’t know if the front office has any tricks up its sleeve in that regard. If we don’t trade for an impact hitter, I’ll go on record as saying I hope Russ Canzler gets a decent shot as DH or in left field.


  • Chris Burnham says:

    I’m still taking credit for setting the wheels in motion. I’m full of prescience today! :-D

  • Steve Alex says:

    I like this trade. Bauer is an elite SP prospect and those are hard to come by. Choo was going to walk anyway, and we still have Cabrera, either to play or to trade elsewhere. I really liked Skaggs, but I don’t think Arizona was willing to put him on the table. Stubbs is a short-term replacement for Choo and salary balancer in the deal. Shaw is a pretty decent and serviceable reliever. Sipp was getting expensive and approaching free agency, so Shaw for Sipp straight up would be a win in my book. And Choo for Bauer head-up isn’t bad either. You wouldn’t have gotten a talent like Bauer with the compensatory sandwich pick if Choo had walked as a free agent. Bauer is already in the big leagues at age 21, and that doesn’t happen very often. He’s not perfect and not a sure thing, but I don’t get that sinking ‘we just got damaged goods and utility guys for a Cy Young winner’ feeling on this one.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    I don’t think they’re done, either. Antonetti gave the ol’ “as of now” spin to whether or not Cabrera is on the team next year, so I’m pretty sure they’re looking to move him as well. If for nothing else, simply because they are openly shopping him anyway, so what’s the point of risking some bad blood at this point?

  • DaveR says:

    Well, good for getting some pitching. They lost Sipp but looks like they have a couple of guys that could keep the bullpen in good shape. I like Stubbs but 2 guys that K a ton is going to frustrate us all year. Choo had some intangibles that overcame the 150 Ks but I’m not sure Stubbs has the same stuff. Lets hope the hitting staff can help him adjust. A guy that can steal 30-40 should be able to slap the ball or bunt on occasion for infield hits.

  • Steve Alex says:

    I agree, and if you are rebuilding you have to go all the way. Cabrera could fetch another elite SP prospect who is close to ML ready, such as Matt Barnes from Boston. Somebody pointed out that Cabrera’s career is going the way of Carlos Baerga, who basically ate and partied his way out of the hall of fame, and which scared the hell out of me when I thought about it. Sell high.

  • Duke says:

    Don’t expect much out of Albers. He has flashes of brilliance, but just as easily can look horrible. Should not be anything better than your 6th inning guy.

  • Cadfael says:

    I’m very happy with this. Choo was my favorite player on the team, but we weren’t keeping him. I like Stubbs, getting Bauer is awesome, and I won’t be sorry to see Sipp leaving. He drove me absolutely crazy.

  • Leo O'Neill says:

    Great trade, sad to see Choo and Donald go mind. Always wanted to see how Donald would fair with a decent amount of at bats. Bauer has huge potential, to get him for essentially 1yr of Choo is much more than I thought possible. Roll on April.

  • Steve Alex says:

    I know what you mean Cad. I had to leave the room when Sipp came into the game. I could not stand the twitching and fidgeting, much less the high pitch counts and flirtation with disaster.

  • Drew says:

    I just did some quick internet searches and compiled the expected payroll of the Cleveland Indians 40-man roster in 2012. It is just shy of $50M when you include the MLBTR-expected arbitration amounts due for Marson, Aviles, Stubbs, Perez, Smith, and Masterson. They had a payroll of $66M last season. I know they had a few buy-outs like Roberto Hernandez and Travis Hafner and sent cash in the Choo trade, but was it more than $4M? That would leave about $12-$13M a year for Nick Swisher if they were to go after him and keep payroll around the same as last year. And if they were able to do all that they have done in the off-season and get Swisher only to keep payroll about the same, I’d call it a fantastic off-season.

  • Susan Petrone says:

    ESPN reports that we sent the Reds $3.5 million in addition to Choo and Donald, so theoretically we’re getting more bang for the same payroll buck. By the light of day, I like this trade even more. It’s nice to see the front office using their resources wisely. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop–I can’t believe that we got the better end of a trade deal.

    • Drew says:

      okay, they can spend $10M on Swisher then, or increase payroll a little bit since the $3.5M in cash to the Reds & Hafner buy-out are one-time events.

  • The Doctor says:

    Getting essentially anything for Choo is fine by me, since he was clearly going to be gone at the end of the year if we hadn’t traded him, but this is even better than I expected – and I don’t even mean the players we received. Trading away Donald and Sipp is addition by subtraction, as Sipp’s maddening inconsistency and his baffling tendency to give up tons of steals despite being left-handed was eventually going to give me a tumor. As for Donald, the less “super utility”, aka guy who truthfully just isn’t very good at anything, guys we have on the roster, the happier I’ll be (this isn’t the Wedge regime anymore where we “need” to have 7 guys playing out of position or rotating between 2 positions they aren’t any good at). And as for Lars Anderson, who I still don’t understand why we acquired in the first place, good riddance.

  • Mike says:

    Great trade for the Tribe. I like having control of Bauer for 6 years. Not a big fan of Stubbs offense. The nice thing about this deal is it strengthens our OF defense. Stubbs is a plus defensive CF and now Bradley slides over to right or left and becomes a plus corner OF. Choo, by most defensive metrics, was terrible last year. His arm strength was his only asset. I wonder if management saw how teams like OAK and SF were winning (solid SP and defense/great bullpen/timely hitting)and decided to build in that mold. As far as Swisher is concerned, I would love to have him in the OF. However, I do not think the Indians win the bidding war on him with several other teams in the mix. If Victorino is worth 3/39 million then Swisher is at least a 3/42 or 4/50 million type of player. His agent will use that awful Victorino deal as leverage. Personally, I would not be surprised if they sign a less-heralded SP in the next few weeks. I would not expect them to break the bank for Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson but an arm like Carlos Villanueva(whom I like), Erik Bedard(please no), or Francisco Lariano(ugh!) is a possibility.

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