Biggest Winners and Losers of 3-Way Diamondbacks, Reds, Rays Trade

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIDecember 3, 2013

Biggest Winners and Losers of 3-Way Diamondbacks, Reds, Rays Trade

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    The first three-team trade of the offseason has gone off, as the biggest name moving is closer Heath Bell to the Tampa Bay Rays.

    As reported in a tweet by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan will go to the Rays (along with cash considerations). The Arizona Diamondbacks will receive right-handed pitcher Justin Choate and a player to be named later, while the Cincinnati Reds will get left-handed pitcher David Holmberg.

    It's a trade that may not turn a lot of heads, especially considering the Baltimore Orioles recently traded closer Jim Johnson, according to ESPN.

    However, the move will have a lot of implications on all teams involved.

    Here's a look at the winners and losers of the three-team trade between the Rays, Diamondbacks and Reds.

Winner: Cincinnati Reds

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    The Reds simply gave up backup catcher Ryan Hanigan and got lefty David Holmberg in the deal.

    At the time of the trade, Holmberg was the No. 9-rated prospect in the D-backs system. Now with the Reds, he's ranked the No. 8 prospect in their system.

    In 2013, Holmberg went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 157.1 innings for Double-A Mobile.

    He was good enough to earn a promotion to the big leagues in September where he pitched 3.2 innings, giving up three runs.

    Holmberg is still young, as he's four years removed from being drafted in the second round out of high school. This is how MLB.com describes Holmberg on his prospect page:

    Holmberg has the chance to have four average or better pitches with good command of all of them. He works quickly and goes right after hitters, working both sides of the strike zone with his solid average sinking fastball. His fading changeup is an above-average offering and he throws both a tight biting curve and short, cutting slider. With good mechanics and size, he should be ready for the middle of the rotation very soon.

    To get a future middle-of-the-rotation starter for a backup catcher makes the Reds a huge winner in this deal. 

    If nothing else, the Reds have a backup plan if Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey both depart via free agency next offseason.

Loser: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    The Diamondbacks did get rid of Bell, which is a good thing, considering he was going to make $9 million in 2014 as a likely setup man.

    However, they gave up one of their top prospects in David Holmberg as well, and all they got was Justin Choate.

    Nothing against Choate, but he was playing in Independent Pecos League just last season before being signed by the Rays in June. While with Short-Season A Hudson Valley, Choate went 1-3 with six saves and a 2.88 ERA in 40.2 innings.

    Those are good stats, but it's still at one of the lower levels of the minor leagues.

    Holmberg had already proven himself through Double-A and is a legitimate starter in the middle of the rotation. The jury is still out on Choate.

    It is fair to say the Diamondbacks already have a lot of young arms in the majors and minors, but they still could have gotten more for Holmberg. The player to be named later could make a difference, but for now, the Diamondbacks are losers in the deal.

Winner: Heath Bell

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    Heath Bell is a winner in this trade because he's going to get a chance to close again.

    Having lost his job as a closer to Brad Ziegler, Bell was entering the final year of his three-year contract with barely any hope of building up his value for the free-agent market next year.

    He blew seven saves last year with Arizona, and Ziegler showed he could do the job. Here's how the two compared last year:

    Heath BellStatsBrad Ziegler
    69G78
    4.11ERA2.22
    1.371WHIP1.137
    12HR3

    It was obvious Ziegler was going to keep the closer's job, thus leaving Bell hoping he could get some sort of value out of being a setup man.

    Now in Tampa Bay, Bell is once again in the closer's role and can build up his value to where he can get one final two-year deal before he retires.

    Bell had 132 saves and a 2.36 ERA between 2009 and 2011 before landing a huge deal to join the Miami Marlins in 2012. He was once the best closer in the game, and he's looking to reacquire that status...or somewhere close to that.

    A good season by Bell could either guarantee him another $9 million if the Rays were to exercise his option, or could earn him a deal that would pay him top dollar to close ballgames.

Winner: David Holmberg

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    David Holmberg is also a big winner in the deal.

    By getting traded from Arizona, he won't have a long line of young pitchers ahead of him in Cincinnati.

    Ahead of him in Arizona were Archie Bradley, Zeke Spruill, Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado, among others. In Cincinnati, Robert Stephenson is going to be the only young prospect in his way for a rotation spot.

    Current starters Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey are free agents after 2014, in addition to Bronson Arroyo being a free agent this offseason. The space is there for Holmberg to get a rotation spot.

    While no spot is a guarantee, at least Holmberg knows there won't be anyone blocking him from the big leagues. If he's good enough to pitch there, he'll be there. If he remained in Arizona, that wouldn't have been the case.

Winner: Tampa Bay Rays

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    While it won't help much offensively, acquiring Ryan Hanigan is a great move by the Rays from a defensive standpoint.

    Tampa Bay catchers Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton struggled to throw out runners last year, while Hanigan had a lot of success. In fact, here's how the three compared defensively in 2013:

    PlayerSBCSCS%RF/G
    Jose Molina562329%7.30
    Jose Lobaton631014%7.04
    Ryan Hanigan181545%7.93

    Many will point out that both Molina and Lobaton caught more innings than Hanigan. However, he's been putting up consistent numbers behind the plate since 2008.

    In 2012, he had his best year as a catcher when he threw out 32 of 66 base stealers, which was good enough for a league-best .485 caught-stealing percentage.

    The Rays made an improvement defensively behind the plate, and it should serve them well against teams that like to run.