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Indians Indians Archive Indians Acquire Potential Ace Trevor Bauer
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

bauerChris Antonetti was well aware of the situation with Shin-Soo Choo. If kept, the Indians would lose Choo at the end of the 2013 season, possibly netting just a compensation draft pick for offering him a contract that he would undoubtedly decline. The Scott Boras client wanted to play for a winner and would be advised by his agent to test the free agent waters and milk the team that signs him for every single cent.

Rather than try to trade Choo at the 2013 Trade Deadline or let him go to free agency, Antonetti maximized Choo’s value in a big way on Tuesday night. After falling short on the framework of an Asdrubal Cabrera trade at the Winter Meetings, Antonetti found a match for the Diamondbacks that filled their needs and filled a gaping hole on the Indians roster. With a glaring need for starting pitching, Antonetti parlayed one of his chief trading chips into a starter that the Indians can rely on for a long time.

In a three-team trade with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks, the Indians traded Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald to the Reds in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius. Then, the Indians traded Gregorius, Tony Sipp, and Lars Anderson to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw, and Matt Albers. The net result of the trade for the Indians is that they get Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw, Matt Albers and Drew Stubbs for Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, Tony Sipp, and Lars Anderson. The Indians will also send $3.5M to the Reds to account for the salary differences between Choo and Stubbs, according to's Ken Rosenthal.

With Bauer, the Indians get a highly-touted pitcher with top of the rotation potential and a guy who misses a lot of bats. Bauer, a 21-year-old righty, made his Major League debut on June 28, 2012 and was the ninth-ranked prospect according to Baseball America entering the 2012 season. In four starts with the Diamondbacks, he posted a 6.06 ERA, dealing with command issues that led to 13 walks in 16.1 innings of work. He also struck out 17 batters. His minor league track record is very impressive, pitching in Double-A to finish his first professional season and rising to Triple-A this past season. In just 156 minor league innings, Bauer has posted a 13-4 record and a 3.00 ERA. He’s recorded 200 strikeouts and 73 walks.

The Diamondbacks felt that Bauer had some makeup issues that were a big concern for them. In one start, Bauer repeatedly shook off catcher Miguel Montero, leading to some post-game comments from Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson. At the end of the season, managing partner Ken Kendrick spoke about Bauer’s maturity level. As a result of that, and the Diamondbacks’ incredible starting pitching depth, Bauer was made available and was the pitcher that they most wanted to trade.

Stubbs is an interesting acquisition for the Indians. He’s a right handed hitter with great speed in center field, but a guy with plenty of holes in his swing and an inability to make constant contact. However, with his combination of speed and power, Stubbs is just a couple years removed from being worth four wins above replacement player. The thing that hurt Stubbs’s value the most last season was that his walk rate dropped by nearly two percent. As a result, more outs and strikeouts hurt his value. Stubbs has stolen 30 or more bases in each of the last three seasons, including 40 swipes in 2011. He could be the Indians’ starting center fielder, with Brantley moving to left field and a right fielder to be named later.

The arms that the Indians acquired should round out this season’s bullpen. Matt Albers is coming off his best season as a Major Leaguer, posting a 2.39 ERA over 63 appearances. He has pitched for the Astros, Orioles, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks in a career that spans 442.1 innings. Bryan Shaw is still a young guy with some upside. Shaw, a second round pick in 2008, posted a 3.49 ERA in his first full Major League season. Both pitchers are right handed and would appear to fill out a bullpen that includes Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Cody Allen, Joe Smith, Scott Barnes, and Nick Hagadone. The Indians may not be done this offseason with the bullpen, as Shaw and Albers would give them eight pitchers in the bullpen.

Obviously, the key loss in this trade is Choo. As mentioned above, Choo was going to be in a different uniform in 2014. Tony Sipp and Jason Donald are Major League pieces with value, but appear to be throw-ins in this trade. The key pieces of Choo, Bauer, and Gregorius are why the trade was made and addressed a big need for every team involved.

All in all, it’s a very impressive haul for Shin-Soo Choo and some spare parts. With six years of control with Trevor Bauer and three years of control with Drew Stubbs, the Indians make out quite well in this deal. Credit has to go to Chris Antonetti for really maximizing the value of Choo and getting a quality starting pitcher without giving up Asdrubal Cabrera. The Indians have made a major statement so far this offseason and their aggression has paid off so far. If this aggressiveness continues, 2013 could be a lot more interesting than we thought it would be.

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