Bryan Shaw: Why Tribe Got a Hidden Bullpen Gem in Shin-Soo Choo Trade

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIDecember 12, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 29: Bryan Shaw #39 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Miguel Montero #26 after a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on April 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Miami Marlins 8-4. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Bryan Shaw was part of a three-team, nine-player deal that sent the pitcher to the Cleveland Indians from the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to an AP report (via ESPN). 

In all of the headlines you read about this trade, the reliever may seldom be mentioned, if mentioned at all.

The deal itself was a key move for the Tribe, acquiring a reliable center fielder and a top starting pitcher, while shedding a struggling reliever and a utility infielder.

Shin-Soo Choo was arbitration eligible in 2013 and was likely to walk, so the trade made sense for Cleveland.

But beneath all of those main headlines of the deal, the team may have also come away with a valuable right-handed reliever.

Just how valuable can Shaw be for Cleveland?

He was a former second-round pick in 2008 by the Diamondbacks out of Long Beach State. The right-hander made his MLB debut in early 2011 and made a good enough impression to stick around in 2012.

The second-year reliever then spent nearly all of that 2012 campaign in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen.

He didn’t just dwell in there, though. Shaw was fairly productive in 64 appearances, finishing the year with a 1-6 record, including two saves and a 3.49 ERA.

Cleveland needed a middle-reliever to help set up Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez. Shaw’s strong cutter and excellent arm strength could initially make him that guy.

However, down the road, Shaw’s true value could be much, much more.

He could be the eventual replacement for closer Chris Perez.

Perez has been very outspoken against the management in Cleveland, and this move could be used as means to leverage that situation and replace the animated closer.

Cleveland definitely made out big in this deal, landing a starting outfielder, a starting rotation arm and an eventual closer in the process.

Choo will be missed initially, but the value of adding two solid arms to the pitching staff cannot be overstated.

Especially if Shaw ends up being as good as his potential value.