It's going to take some time to sort through this one, but here are the particulars of the big three-team, nine-player deal that was just finalized on Tuesday evening.
According to Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan, the Cleveland Indians are set to receive right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers from the Arizona Diamondbacks, along with outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Cincinnati Reds.
The Diamondbacks have acquired shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius from Cincinnati, as well as left-handed reliever Tony Sipp and first base prospect Lars Anderson from Cleveland.
The Reds will then receive outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from Cleveland, along with infielder John McDonald from Arizona. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report Cincinnati's return in the deal.
It's not quite the 12-player deal we saw involving the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays a few weeks ago, but it's a massive trade that will supply us with several angles with which to discuss and analyze for days to come. And with that said, here are just a couple early takes on the two biggest names in the deal, Trevor Bauer and Shin-Soo Choo.
Of course the initial reaction when a prospect the caliber of Bauer — ranked No. 9 by Baseball America in 2012 — is involved is whether or not the team parting with said prospect got a strong enough return. The general feeling among the experts is they did not, with Didi Gregorius being the key player coming back to Arizona. For the D-backs, though, it fills a big need at shortstop, where they're clearly looking to upgrade defensively for the long-term. Gregorius is widely known as a defense-first talent with limited offensive upside. But again, that's the fit for them and in their minds worth the steep price.
I'll agree to disagree with them on that point. If Bauer, 21, pans out, they just parted with a potential ace and anchor that would be integral in helping them keep pace with the arm-heavy Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants out west. Those types of talents just don't land in your organization on a regular basis, and even if Gregorius did develop a little bit offensively, he's not likely to match the potential impact a Bauer or a more well-rounded position player prospect could make.
On that flip side, though, they still possess a good amount of starting pitching depth with Brandon McCarthy and two more up-and-comers in Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin. They can also hold on to Justin Upton rather move him for a shortstop which seemed to be the plan early in the winter. You can see how it makes sense in general manager Josh Towers' view of the big picture, but you can also see the risk. Sometimes you just have to take those risks to emerge from the middle of the pack.
As for the Reds, they're already ahead of the pack in the National League Central and they may be creating some significant distance by parting with the inconsistent and at times maddening Drew Stubbs (career .312 OBP) and bringing in Shin-Shoo Choo (career .381 OBP) instead. It's almost certain they'll put Choo at the top of the order, and it's also likely he'll take over in centerfield, a position he's only played for 10 games. That will cost them defensively, there's no way around that, but his presence in the lineup should more than make up for it.
Again, we're still very early in digesting this deal and what it will ultimately mean for all three teams involved, so you can bet we'll have more to say in the next few days. Stay tuned for that, and stay tuned for the next big move in what could ultimately become the busiest week this winter.