The Reds may be fixin’ to get a fair bit better in 2013, making the Cubs’ already unlikely chances of competing at the top of the NL Central slightly more unlikely.

According to Danny Knobler, the Reds and Indians are “deep in talks” on a deal that would send outfield Shin-Soo Choo and another player to the Reds for center fielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius. Choo would play center for the Reds, Stubbs would move into the Indians’ outfield, and Gregorius would play short for the Indians, more freely allowing them to trade Asdrubal Cabrera. The Cubs were briefly attached to Choo earlier this offseason, but as a short-term piece that would require serious value in trade, he never made much sense for the Cubs.

Stubbs is a flawed player whose speed hasn’t allowed him to overcome contact deficiencies at the plate. Swapping him out for Choo would be, on paper, at least a couple win upgrade (Choo’s WAR was jacked up in 2012 because of an obviously messed-up defensive component) for the Reds in 2013, but it’s notable that Choo is under control for 2013 only. After that, he’s a free agent. So the Reds would be stepping it up in 2013 – and they were pretty damn good in 2012.

In the long run, it might be slightly worse for the Reds, losing Gregorius, who is a 22-year-old big league ready shortstop. He may not be a future star, but even an average, cost-controlled shortstop is a very valuable thing. Until we know the other player in the deal coming from the Indians, though, you can’t really call it a bad deal for either side. Right now, it’s just interesting.

If the deal goes through, setting aside the obvious NL Central implications, the Indians could start shopping Cabrera aggressively, which could have unforeseen effects on the market going forward (or they could shop Gregorius). In other words, this could be the first domino.

  • Kyle

    Very good call by the Reds. For a team with 97 wins and Joey Votto, they had a shocking upgradable holes on offense this season. They need to address that and not just assume their charmed year pitching last year will carry over.

    • Muck

      Choo’s a free agent after this year so it sounds like they’re either goin all in or hoping to possibly dump him off at the deadline. But in the 2nd case it wouldn’t make sense for giving up 2 pretty decent guys. Or they are hoping to extend him after this year.

      • King Jeff

        I think Choo can go to arbitration after next year too, not sure though.

        • ssckelley

          He is a free agent after next season.

  • MightyBear

    Gotta give Jocketty credit. He can build a winning baseball team.

    • MikeL

      And Jocketty didn’t do it overnight despite the fact that he already some pieces in place and were in much better shape when he arrived in Cincy than the Cubs were last year, something Cubs fans should remember when it comes to the Cubs front office and the rebuilding process.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, the really smart thing that Jocketty is doing is depriving Dusty of his “bad lineup” players. Dusty loves to put guys like Stubbs at the top of the order because they are fast even though they are out-machines. He would have been putting Gregorius up there, too, because middle infielders are supposed to bat first or second. What you really want in front of Votto and Bruce is OBP: those guys hit the ball hard enough often enough that speed really isn’t going to make much of a difference. Moreover, you want them batting with guys on base (fast or slow) as often as possible.

      Choo should fit in well batting #2 in the Reds order. Fortunately, Dusty will still probably give the opposition a free out with Cozart to start the game, but a Phillips-Choo-Votto-Bruce sequence will create a lot of runs.

    • hansman1982

      Ya, Jocketty may be one of the most under-rated GM’s in baseball. This from his Wikipedia page:

      During his time as Cardinal GM, the Cardinals compiled seven National League Central Division championships (1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), two National League Championships (2004 and 2006), and one World Series Championship (2006). The Cardinals had seven straight winning seasons under Jocketty, including 100+ win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Jocketty has been named the Executive of the Year in MLB three times, in 2000, 2004, & 2010.

      Wait a minute…why the hell didn’t we hire him instead of Theo…

  • King Jeff

    Getting Shoo and getting rid of Stubbs? If this wasn’t a team managed by Dusty Baker, I’d pick them as WS favorites next year.

  • MightyBear

    Thank god for another thread. That last one about killed me. Brett, do me a favor, shoot me a warning shot when you post another Mesa/Wrigley Renovation/Dominican Republic public assistance thread please. Make the first sentence like “There you go again” or “Wouldn’t be prudent” or “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” so I can avoid that thread and the stupidity. Thanks buddy.

    • Kyle

      Now you know how I feel when people talk about journalism.

  • Stu

    Not much else to talk about when the Cubs are “doing it the right way”. Look how much they care about the community by getting sweetheart stadium deals. We in the great state of Arizona are so greatful that the money would just have been wasted on computers for kids, teacher salaries, etc.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Kids can learn more going to ball games.

  • Stu

    Not much else to talk about when the Cubs are “doing it the right way”.

    Look how much they care about the community by getting sweetheart stadium deals. We in the great state of Arizona are so greatful that the money would just have been wasted on computers for kids, teacher salaries, etc.

    • Brett

      Voters approved the deal in Mesa, so …

      • hansman1982

        so many things I want to say…why couldn’t you have started a political blog????


    ” he never made much sense for the Cubs.”

    Sometimes I wonder who would make sense for the Cubs? ……ooooh I almost forgot Ian Stewart cheap contract , (2.5 mil for a non tendered) and plays 15 weeks including spring training.

  • Cubbie Blues

    One year of Choo might work well. They have Hamillton coming up for CF and 80 bijillion stollen bases.

  • cubzforlife

    I’m guessing the money comes from two different pockets. My local high school spent 4million on soundproof windows ( 3 miles east of Ohare) new gym, new auditorium, and they dropped AP courses because of no money. Almost forgot, they built a new football field that makes Soldier Fields’ turf look like s**t.

    • Frank

      To be fair, almost any turf makes Soldier Field’s look like s * * t.

  • someday…2015?

    D-backs now reportedly involved.(no Cabrera) So an Upton deal is pretty much inevitable at this point?…

  • John

    Maybe this is what it takes to get things moving. If The tribe gets Didi, they can then partner in the Upton to Texas, Cabrera to Arizona, and prospects to Cleveland deal that I think is holding up the offseason. Maybe at that point, Hamilton will choose his destination and Bourn will do the same. Those players being off the market should allow the Soriano trade market to come into focus.

  • AD

    I saw that the Phillies discussed a deal for Soriano. In return the Cubs would net Dominic Brown.

    • Brad

      How long is brown controlled for?

  • ramy16

    I say trade for Asdrubal Cabrera and move him to 3rdbase! Can you imagine and infield of Cabrera, Castro, Barney, Rizzo!

  • Rizzofanclub

    Brown has 2 years until he starts Arb. I would be very excited about this move.

  • AD

    Arb eligible in 2015 and free agent in 2018.

  • Adam

    Thats all it takes to get Trevor Bauer?

  • Craig

    Deal is done. Cleveland then flips SS to Arizona for Bauer

  • Craig

    Seems like a steal for Cleveland. Wish we could of got Bauer that cheap

  • cubfanincardinalland

    So do the Reds still have Stubbs?

    • DB

      No. Choo went to Reds. Stubbs and Bauer went to Indians. Other players and cash included.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Trade Soriano, Barney, and Marmol. There value will never be higher. This is going to be a losing ballclub anyway. Barney I really don’t seeing a part of the future

  • curt

    and the cubs do almost nothing that matters, and why are prior regimes catching little to no heat for this mess, its not theo and jeds falt the cubs were in a bad state, andy macphail should be ashamed of himself, hendry just did as he was told, and sam zell was more concerned with making the cubs look like a good buy than doing it right ,cubs fans have waited over a 100 years for a series win and macphail and numerous others while trying 2 win immediately spent quite abit of money but they wouldnt either go all in or do it the right way either, well try hard put 1 foot in the water see if its good enough, i sincerly hope that theo,jed,jason and company are doing the right things 2 acheive a consistent winning team,stepping off soapbox now goodnight.

    • hansman1982

      Because Hendry had 3 playoff seasons and 2 seasons of a good farm system?

      Compare that to the Red Sox who continued to have a top farm system despite not winning fewer than 85 games in the AL East or the Cardinals who continuously churn out good players from nowhere.

      Theo gets too much slack and receives too much grief at the same time. On one hand, he came in and plainly said that they are going to BUILD (key lack of the prefix “re”) the organization for sustained success. He said that they would build both the minor leagues and the big leagues but the latter would defer to the former. He said that every opportunity to win is sacred; however, not every opportunity is created equal. Increasing chances of contention from 10-20% now will not be tolerated if it significantly hinders future contention options. Any money not spent now will be available for future use, we have seen no indications otherwise so we must assume this to be true.

      With that said, they did miss on a couple opportunities for the future last season, Darvish and Cespedes. Those are both assets that were young enough to be long-ish term assets (Cespedes being borderline) and in both cases the Cubs made what appears to be strong efforts. This winter they have been active in trying to find young talent for Soriano and Marmol and acquiring solid talent from other organizations.

      2013 looks bleak. It should, we are on pace for the lowest payroll in 10 years and the only who has a chance of living up to his contract is Sanchez. So what to take of this. The Cubs have been in rebuilding/smart exec mode before and every time it’s gone off the rails after a few years. This time; however, it appears that we have an owner who is willing to hand the reigns over to someone who knows the business and wants a team that contends year after year after year. To this owner the Cubs are not just a line-item on an Excel spreadsheet somewhere. If it were, we’d have Pujols and Greinke and Dempster, players to boost the franchise value.

      Everyone likes to point to the Yankees from the mid-90’s on. Well, before then Steinbrenner did all sorts of screwed up shit in the first 15 years he was owner. Patience, worst case scenario – absolute WORST – we lose for 5 years but get a helluva drafting and development organization out of this.

      • BWA

        Interesting point you made in there. For the people who complain the Ricketts is just pocketing all of the extra cash, they aren’t thinking about how the value of a losing organization effects the value of the team if he were to try to sell it. That loss in value is probably much greater than the pocketed cash. Anybody have more accurate insights into this?

        • BWA

          *They aren’t thinking about how the value of a losing organization is much less than that of a winning organization if he were to try to sell the cubs at some point. Just wanted to clarify cuz that was very poorly worded. Brett, an edit button would be great!