Analyzing How the Shin-Soo Choo Trade Impacts Future Offseason Moves
It looks like 2012 is turning into the Year of the Blockbuster.
At least in Major League Baseball, that is.
Shin-Soo Choo was dealt by the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-team, nine-player trade on Tuesday.
The Indians dealt Choo and infielder Jason Donald to the Reds and the Reds dealt center fielder Drew Stubbs back to the Indians.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were the third team in the deal. They dealt pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to the Indians along with relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw.
The Diamondbacks also got shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds along with southpaw reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson.
The deal fills known needs for each team. The Reds get the potential leadoff man they've been looking for in Choo. The Diamondbacks get their shortstop of the future in Gregorius. The Indians get good young pitching in Bauer.
Exactly how does this deal affect future moves for each team involved?
Let's take a look.
The Cleveland Indians gave up one of their core players in the three-team, nine-player trade on Tuesday.
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo had been with the Tribe since 2006, hitting .292 during his time in Cleveland. However, general manager Chris Antonetti had been unsuccessful in attempts to sign Choo to an extension. Given the fact that Choo will be a free agent next season, something had to give.
The Tribe now has a speedy young center fielder in Drew Stubbs, with incumbent Michael Brantley likely moving to left field.
The Indians will now need to figure out what to do in right field. Brantley could actually shift to right instead of left if Cleveland chooses to go with internal candidate Ezequiel Carrera in left field.
In acquiring prospect pitcher Trevor Bauer, the Indians got a good young starter, but didn't necessarily address their short-term need of upgrading their rotation.
Bauer will be given every opportunity to compete for a rotation spot this spring. Given the current state of Cleveland's starting pitching, he'll clearly have a better-than-even chance of heading North in April.
However, the Indians still need upgrades there. While they may be limited financially, trotting out a rotation that features Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Zach McAllister, David Huff and Carlos Carrasco along with Bauer isn't getting them any closer to their goal of competing in the AL Central.
Expect the Indians to continue tweaking, with right field and starting pitching being the top two objectives.
The Cincinnati Reds struck gold in this particular deal.
By acquiring Shin-Soo Choo, they got the leadoff man they've been searching for. In addition, Choo is only under team control for one season, by which time speedy prospect Billy Hamilton could be deemed ready to make the jump to the majors.
The Reds gave up a lot defensively. Drew Stubbs may have disappointed with the bat in Cincinnati, but they will clearly miss his plus defense. In acquiring Choo the Reds are taking a major chance. Choo has logged just 10 games in center during his entire career. Defense is not Choo's strong suit—the Reds acquired him for the offense and the leadoff abilities alone.
There may not be much for the Reds to do at this point in the offseason. They've re-signed Ryan Ludwick along with acquiring their leadoff man, so the two major positional needs have been completed.
The Arizona Diamondbacks became a more-than-willing partner in the three-team, nine-player trade on Tuesday.
The D-Backs feel that they got the long-term shortstop they've been searching for in Didi Gregorius. In addition, they picked up a piece for their bullpen in lefty specialist in Tony Sipp. First baseman Lars Anderson was essentially a throw-in.
With this trade, the Diamondbacks now have most of their offseason goals completed. They acquired reliever Heath Bell to help out J.J. Putz in the back end of the bullpen.
They dealt center fielder Chris Young to the Oakland A's, likely paving the way for Adam Eaton to prove he belongs. A.J. Pollock will also give the Diamondbacks hope for the future in the outfield as well.
General manager Kevin Towers also inked Brandon McCarthy to a two-year, $15.5 million deal, adding a quality starter to his rotation.
The addition of Eric Chavez helps shore up the left side of the infield as well. Chavez will likely see a platoon situation along with Chris Johnson.
The Diamondbacks could very well be done in terms of major acquisitions. At this point, Towers may look for right-handed relief help with the loss of Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, but he's also got Bell, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez, so the shopping will be light, if at all.
Towers and the Diamondbacks set about making changes very early this offseason. Two weeks before Christmas, they may now be done with their makeover.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.