Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – To say that it was a busy night for the Indians was an understatement. The Indians were in ‘wheel and deal’ mode Tuesday, and wound up with players that they feel won’t only be good for the team now, but for the future as well.
“This is a trade that can impact our team not only for 2013, but for the future,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti said. “Three of the players we acquired we will have under control for at least the next three seasons.”
So with so many questions about the deal the Indians pulled, let’s take a look at some of the specifics of the deal, and what exactly it means for the 2013 Tribe.
1. Who Are These Players the Indians acquired?
First, let’s deal with Drew Stubbs, who will be penciled in as a starting OF with the Indians from day one. “He’s a great defender in center field,” Antonetti said. “He brings an element of speed and power to our team. … He’s one of the best defenders in center field and provides a great deal of athleticism out there.”
Stubbs can run, and has played center field for the Reds the past two seasons, hitting .213 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs last season, striking out 166 times in 493 at-bats. He has 100 stolen bases over the past three years, including 30 in 2012.
Antonetti stated that for now, the team does not know where Stubbs will play. Michael Brantley played center for the Indians last season, but has also spent some time in left.
“In Drew Stubbs, we received a great defensive player who brings an element of speed and power to our lineup,” Antonetti said. “We are happy with the job Michael Brantley did for us in center field, but Drew is one of the best out there. He brings a great deal of athleticism to our team.”
The rest of the players the Indians got are pitchers, and there’s three of them. The centerpiece of the deal is 21-year-old starter Trevor Bauer, who comes to the team from Arizona
“We feel we’re getting a young pitcher with a ton of potential,” Antonetti said, “a guy who we feel has a chance to pitch at the top of the rotation once he develops and a guy who we had longstanding interest in.”
Bauer is a little different, and if you don’t believe me, just google “Trevor Bauer warmups” and have a little fun reading away about the new Indians starter.
His unorthodox throwing mechanics and conditioning routines wasn’t a factor according to Antonetti, and they were more impressed with his numbers from AA and AAA last season. In 22 Minor League starts, he tallied 157 strikeouts in 130.1 innings, and is the type of future front-line starter the Tribe has been looking for.
Overall in 2012, Bauer made four starts for Arizona and went 12-2 record with a 2.42 ERA between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He’s just the type of pitcher the Indians have sorely needed.
“We are getting a young pitcher with a ton of potential,” Antonetti said. “He can be a top-of-the-rotation guy with development. He is somebody we have been interested in for a long time, since he was at UCLA.”
The other two pitchers the Indians received are relief pitchers, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Both are hard throwers, as 29-year-old Albers split the 2012 season between the Boston Red Sox and Arizona, going a combined 3-1 with a 2.39ERA.
The 25-year-old Shaw, 25, spent most of the 2012 season in the Arizona bullpen and had 64 relief appearances.
2. Didn’t The Indians Give Up A Lot?
Shin-Soo Choo may be the biggest name in the deal, and the Reds are getting a quality person and good player from the Indians. Cincy will put Choo in center, which is kind of risky, and he will hit lead off for them.
“I expressed my profound appreciation not only for his ability as a player, but for the person that he is and the teammate that he was,” Antonetti said. “He’s a guy that we will certainly miss — not only for his on-field contributions, but everything else that he’s meant to the organization.”
Choo is a good player, but in 2014 he will reach free agency, and there’s no way the Indians would be able to keep him with Scott Boras as his agent.
Jason Donald is in the deal, and last season he wasn’t very good, hitting .202 with 2 homers and 11 RBI in 43 games. He can play a lot of positions, and the Reds will shift him around a lot.
Tony Sipp heads to Arizona in the deal, the 29-year-old was 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA. The Indians picked up two relief pitchers, and his spot won’t be open for long.
Lars Anderson went to the D-Backs as well, he was a trade deadline deal last year for the Indians, and never got to the MLB roster. Most Indians fans won’t even remember he was with the organization.
3. Why Would Arizona Part with Bauer?
Great question. The D-Backs really need a shortstop, and pitching is their depth. They didn’t want to have to absorb Asdrubal Cabrera, who has two years left on his deal and will make $16.5 mil in that time.
Arizona instead of taking on Cabrera, instead got young shortstop Didi Gregorius, who can probably make the MLB roster out of spring training, and could be at short by the second half of the year.
D-Backs GM Kevin Towers said he was sorry to part with Bauer, but “we’re fortunate to have a lot of pitching depth.”
Arizona just inked Brandon McCarthy, and Bauer would have wound up in AAA anyway for them. They feel they got a solid prospect in Gregorius, and were not happy with losing Bauer, but it’s part of the game.
Bauer will likely start the Indians season in AAA, but will get plenty of looks in the spring. The Indians rotation is still very much open, and if he impresses enough, you never can tell if he could find his way as maybe the 5th starter.