CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Many Indians faithful have been critical of the team for not moving sooner on deals to try and make the team better.
Tuesday night, in the backdrop of the recent MLB Winter Meetings, the Indians did a mega move they think could make them good both now and in the future.
The Indians acquire four players in the three-team trade, getting right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer from Arizona, relief pitcher Matt Albers and relief pitcher Bryan Shaw.
They also get outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Cincinnati Reds in the deal.
The Tribe sends outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and utility man Jason Donald to the Reds, as well as cash. They also send relief pitcher Tony Sipp and infielder Lars Anderson to the Diamondbacks.
Arizona gets a shortstop, grabbing Didi Gregorius from the Reds.
Bauer may very well be the center of the deal for the Indians. The 21-year-old, was the third overall selection by Arizona in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of UCLA after winning the 2011 Golden Spikes Award and National Player of the Year.
Named the 9th overall prospect in Minor League Baseball entering 2012, Trevor spent most of the 2012 season between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno where he went a combined 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts (130.1IP, 107H, 35ER, 61BB, 157K, 223AVG) and averaged 10.8 strikeouts per 9.0IP.
He also became the first member of the 2011 draft to appear in the big leagues ahead of Indians RHP Cody Allen, making four starts for the Diamondbacks in July. In his brief Minor League career he owns an ERA of 3.00 in 156.0 innings of work (134H, 52ER, 73BB, 200K, .229AVG) while fanning 11.5 batters per 9.0IP.
Stubbs has appeared in parts of 4 Major League seasons with the Reds since 2009 after being selected in the first round (8th overall) of the 2006 draft, batting .241 (431-1791) with 59HR, 178RBI, 110SB, 285 runs (.312OBP/.386SLG) in 486 career games.
The 28-year-old right-handed hitter has also posted a career .276 (127-460) avg./.821 OPS vs. left-handed pitching. Stubbs recorded at least 30 stolen bases for the 3rd consecutive season in 2012, becoming one of just 6 Major League players to do so over the span since 2010 (Bourn, Crisp, R. Davis, J. Reyes, B.J. Upton).
With 40 steals in 2011, Stubbs became the first Reds player to reach that threshold since Deion Sanders swiped 56 bags in 1997. Defensively, the University of Texas product has appeared exclusively in center field in 481 career games (24 outfield assists).
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 (60.1IP, 46H, 16ER, 22BB, 44K, .215AVG). Over Matt’s final 11 outings with the D-Backs in September he posted an ERA of 1.80 (10.0IP, 9H, 2R/ER, 9K).
On the year with Boston and Arizona he limited left-handed batters to a .207 (17-82) average against. The Houston, TX native was a 23rd round pick of the Astros in 2001 and debuted with his hometown team in 2006.
The 29-year-old was traded to Baltimore prior to the 2008 season and after a successful stint in Boston in 2011-12 he was acquired by Arizona at the trading deadline for LHP Craig Breslow.
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 (59.1IP, 60H, 23ER, 4HR, 24BB, 41K, .273AVG). The Livermore, CA native also spent two weeks in Triple-A Reno in July and August, posting an ERA of 2.25 in 8 outings (8.0IP, 6H, 2R/ER, 10K, .207AVG).
The 25-year-old began his pro career in 2008 after the second round selection by Arizona out of Long Beach State (CA). 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 (87.2IP, 90H, 31ER, 65K).
Stubbs is a player the Indians have liked for awhile, and could come in and fill Choo’s role, or could possibly move to the current vacant left field spot, or could play CF and the Indians can move Michael Brantley to left.
Bottom line, it’s a huge deal, and one that had to get moving last week in Nashville at the Winter Meetings.
Now the question is – can this team find more pitching as well as someone else to play outfield and to DH before they head to Goodyear in March.