Indians, Reds, D-backs complete deal
Another day, another major trade.
The Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks completed a three-team blockbuster involving nine players on Tuesday night.
Are you ready?
• The Reds obtained outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald from the Indians.
• The Diamondbacks acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds and left-hander Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians.
• The Indians acquired center fielder Drew Stubbs from the Reds and three pitchers — right-hander Trevor Bauer and relievers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers — from the Diamondbacks.
The Indians will send the Reds approximately $3.5 million to account for the differences in the projected salaries of Stubbs and Choo.
The impact of the deal could be far-reaching.
The Diamondbacks filled their shortstop need by obtaining Gregorius, a rookie, rather than the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera, who has two years and $16.5 million left on his contract.
The question now is whether the Diamondbacks still intend to trade right fielder Justin Upton or left fielder Jason Kubel, perhaps for a top starting pitcher.
Cabrera, sources said, had been a focal point of three-team discussions between the Indians, Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, who are trying to acquire Upton.
The Diamondbacks had targeted either a shortstop or a top starting pitcher in those talks. The Rangers perhaps could revive the deal by obtaining a starter from another club to send to Arizona. They also remain interested in re-signing free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Choo, a left-handed hitter with a .381 career on-base percentage, likely will lead off and play center field for the Reds. The Reds had been seeking another left-handed bat, and Choo, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce will form a dynamic outfield for one year. Choo is set to become a free agent after the 2013 season, and his agent, Scott Boras, is expected to seek top dollar for him on the open market.
One fascinating aspect of the deal is that Choo has played only 10 major-league games in center field, only one of which was after 2006. He tried to learn the position when he broke into the majors with the Seattle Mariners in 2005 and 2006. He was tentative in center field then but excelled in right after being traded to Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Choo is precisely what the Reds need offensively. Cincinnati ranked last in the majors this year in production from the leadoff spot, due to Stubbs’ disappointing season. Choo has ranked among the American League’s top 10 in on-base percentage during three of the past four seasons.
The Indians would end up with Stubbs, an enigmatic speedster whose OPS has declined from .773 to .681 to .610 in the past three seasons. Their big prize, however, is Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft who follows an unusual training regimen that did not always sit well with Diamondbacks officials.