The Diamondbacks, Reds, and Indians consummated their rumored three-way trade last night, which saw nine players change teams. The damage: the Reds got outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald from the Indians, the Diamondbacks got shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds plus left-hander Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians, and the Indians got center fielder Drew Stubbs from the Reds plus big-time pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and relievers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers from the Diamondbacks.

On its face, it looks like a very good short-term deal for the Reds, a very good short-term and long-term deal for the Indians, and a so-so deal for the Diamondbacks. It sure seems like they could have done better in a deal involving Bauer, one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, but they’ve seemed to be interested in moving him all Winter (the suggestion being that he wasn’t as coachable as they’d like), and maybe his market wasn’t as great as we all assume.

Among the potential implications of the deal for the Cubs:

(1.) I know a lot of folks are reacting to the trade by saying things like, “aw, man, couldn’t the Cubs have sent just as much and received Bauer?” Well, maybe. But you can’t really know what Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was thinking. He may have, for whatever reason, always wanted Gregorius, and no other formulation of a deal was going to be this perfect for him. Otherwise, almost every team would have been thinking, “hey, Kevin, we can beat that!”

(2.) It’s fair to wonder what the Diamondbacks wanted with Anderson, yet another guy on their roster who can play a corner outfield spot and first base. Maybe he’s just a bench bat (not a proven one), or maybe he opens up their ability to deal someone like Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra even further? If so, and if it’s the former, the outfield market (and the Alfonso Soriano trade market) could take a shot, as Kubel has some trade value. If it’s the latter (Parra), I’d like to see the Cubs check in heavily on that one, as I’ve mentioned a few times before.

(3.) The Reds look really damn good in 2013. They were already a very talented team, but the addition of Choo is going to help their lineup enormously. They’ve essentially said they aren’t looking to keep him beyond 2013, though, so this is a short-term move. Maybe they become slightly less competitive in 2014, which would line up better for the Cubs in the NL Central anyway.

(4.) The Diamondbacks have now essentially filled all of their needs for the offseason, and they didn’t have to move Justin Upton to do it. Towers has suggested (though he’s said this at other times when it served his purposes) that he no longer believes Upton will be traded this offseason, which obviously leaves the Rangers desperate for a big-time addition. Maybe they go back to the well on Josh Hamilton, and maybe then the Mariners are left to go all out on Michael Bourn.

(5.) The Indians could be surprisingly competitive in 2013 – or at least “go-for-it-y” – and might now look to bring in someone like Nick Swisher. If they do, given what the Royals have already done, you could see both the Royals and the Tigers try to bolster their squads again. The Cubs could enter that picture, depending on how things shake out.

  • Myles – WCSW

    I think that this hurts the Cubs by removing Upton from the Rangers. It takes away a top-flight option in the outfield, which grows Bourn’s and Hamilton’s market (as you said).

    As to the Dbacks deal, they really wanted a good young shortstop. I don’t want to trade Castro for Upton, and Baez is too far away (and some teams still see him as a 3B – I don’t). Just wasn’t a good fit all around.

  • JR

    I just looked up Gregorius’s numbers in the minors and they suck. That dude doesn’t even run. He must have an Ozzie Smith type glove to make up for that weak bat… How do the Cubs get in on some of these stupid trades? I am looking at you Arizona and K.C.

    I posted in wrong place. My bad..

  • Spoda17

    I don’t see the Cubs making any more moves that really amount to anything (including not trading Sori). So my reaction to this is … eh, whatever… good for them I guess.

    I agree with your assessment Brett, but my reaction is still… eh…

  • CubFan Paul

    Where would Gregorius rank in the Cubs farm?

    • Brett

      Good question. MLB-ready shortstop, young for his levels but weak bat. Hmm. Back end of top 10? Certainly behind the top tier guys.

      • Eric

        about right. He’s a very good defensive SS and is about ready. He’s def a good prospect. I would probably go. .


        • Spriggs

          This looks about right to me. Maybe above Jackson?

      • CubFan Paul

        I dunno about ML ready. His numbers looks like he needs AAA seasoning, imo anyway. Looks like the Reds rushed him some.

        If Baez has a solid 2013 can you imagine his trade value this time next year?

  • Eric

    yeah I want the Cubs to get into one of these stupid trades where the headline is “WTF were they thinking?” with the Cubs on the positive end of that story. Maybe if we are lucky something like that will happen in January.

    • JR

      That would be awesome. I wonder if other teams are real nervous to deal high upside guys like Bauer to the Cubs because of the “Whiz kids” stigma the FO has. And other GM’s get real nervous when Theo/Jed are going hard after someone.. Probably me just being a paranoid Cub fan. But some of these deals are so ridiculous..

      • Eric

        No I think things like that sometimes too. You have to look at history, Andrew Cashner is injured again, and we have our good defensive power hitting young 1B of the future. But they also got robbed in the Stewart trade. Other GMs know Theo is not perfect, far from it.

        • JR

          Yeah the Pads were morons on that Rizzo trade, no idea why they did that.. Rizzo looks way better than Alonso, and Cashner has always been a gimp. In a weird way it’s probably good to miss on some of the smaller trades (like the Stewart deal) too.
          If Thed win big on every trade then who will want to trade with them? But at this point I think the Cubs could use a little good fortune in a deal, Rizzo style…

          • King Jeff

            I don’t know, Andrew Freidman keeps making deals, and I can’t remember him ever not coming out on top in a trade.

          • Stevie B

            I’m thinking something was shady about the Cashner / Rizzo deal. Somebody owed somebody a favor maybe?
            When that went down, I seriously thought….no way…..

      • DarthHater

        So, depending on who you talk to, the Cubs’ FO guys are either: (1) overrated pretenders who have lived off the achievements of others without ever really accomplishing much themselves; or (2) whiz kids with such a reputation of greatness that other teams are afraid to even deal with them? Boy, are we screwed.

        Actually, when I read stories about these kinds of trades and ask, “Why not us?” the inference I draw is simply that our potential trade chips just aren’t that desirable to other teams. Whether that will change in the future and how long such a change might take remain to be seen. In the interim, I set aside my rose-colored glasses when I view Cubs prospects, lest I die of heartburn.

        • Eric

          I don’t know if I agree with the 2nd part, I think our trade chips (atleast in the minor leagues) are already pretty desireable. We lost 4 players in the rule 5 draft. Which means other GMs know the Cubs have a great system and some good talent in it. We just don’t have alot of talent at the MLB level. But give it a couple years and we’ll have talent “some hip saying about bulging or up the wazoo or something”.

          • JR

            “We just don’t have alot of talent at the MLB level. But give it a couple years and we’ll have talent”

            Exactly, the Cubs had the worst AAA team in baseball last year and pretty much no talent there. And teams like the Dbacks who are trying to win now, don’t want to mess with trading for high upside guys in the low minors.

          • When the Music’s Over

            Part of losing 4 players via the Rule 5 Draft can be attributed to questionable 40 man roster management.

            • ncsujuri

              Not 40 man roster mismanagement becuase 3 of the 4 that were picked were in the minor league versions of the Rule 5.

              • When the Music’s Over

                Makes sense, but if that’s the case, I’m certainly not worried about losing minor league filler.

                • ncsujuri

                  Yeah, there wasn’t a whole lot of outcry for anyone taken in the minor league portion with the possible exception of Cerda, who by all accounts actually knows what the difference is between a ball and a strike.

        • Brett

          … or the Cubs didn’t want to participate because they didn’t like the pieces on the other side. Or a million other reasons that one of 27 teams that didn’t participate didn’t participate.

      • Jono

        I’ve had that exact same thought, jr.

  • Bryan

    this trade got me thinkin…

    Is their any other top prospects in their teams doghouse that could possibly come to the cubbies cheap? as in for a deal for marmol or sori?

    God i just want those two gone. Especially marmol

  • ferrets_bueller

    The D-backs can’t catch a break with their GMs. First they have Brynes making incredibly stupid deals, now they have KT doing the same.

  • Mike Feeney

    The initial reaction I have whenever a deal is made is, “could the Cubs have been involved”. When the Rays picked up Wil Myers my initial reaction was, “damn, i wish Garza was healthy maybe we could have scooped Myers up.”

    But in reality it takes two, or more in trade scenarios, to tango. A front office might like a certain guy more than another. A certain player might fit what a FO believes it needs whether from a talent perspective or other factors could be involved. Obviously James Shields is better than Garza. But in any case you can’t assume that the Cubs slept on any trade. I am sure their front office is keeping tabs on what is going on and if they were able to, or wanted to, they would get involved in a deal like this.

    Personally I am okay with the off season we have had so far. I like the pieces that have been added and while I would love to transform this team into a contender over night I know that’s unlikely. I like the approach right now. I think next off season could see the Cubs a little more aggressive.

    • Eric

      They could still be active this offseason. Theo and Jed are working their asses off on the phones right now trying to get the absolute highest value for Soriano, Marmol, and perhaps Garza a little later in the spring. They are being stingy and will only accept real good value for them. That’s the reason why it’s so boring for us right now, because they are holding out for the absolute best return. Waiting for some things to shake out and some teams to get desperate and react to a move made in their division. I just hope it works out and we can net some good MLB ready talent.

  • Coldneck

    Wish the Cubs would have traded Barney + plus a mid level prospect for Bauer. No idea if the Dbacks see Barney as a potential SS, but he’s a proven version of Gregorious, only with 2 less years of control. Barney played SS his entire life until Castro got in the way.

    • Coldneck

      Bauer definitely must have some injury or personal red flags since the Dbacks wanted so badly to be rid of the most valuable commodity in baseball.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That would not have equaled Gregorius plus the other prospects. Remember, Gregorius is 5 years younger than Barney (22 vs. 27) and offers the DBacks 2 additional years of team control. Those both are worth a lot as trade chips right there. Gregorius also looks like he’ll have more power than Barney.

      So, Bauer for Gregorius plus others was dumb, but Bauer for Barney & mid level prospect would have been even dumber.

  • Noah

    One thing that I think has been left out of this discussion, though, is the impact this is going to have on the Reds defense. While I still think this is a good move for he Reds and should stabilize the top of their batting order while giving a lot more opportunities with runners on for Votto and Bruce, the Reds are going from very good defensively in CF to probably well below average. The move is still definitively worth it for the Reds, and they’ll score more runs because of it. But they’ll also give up more runs.

    • brickhouse

      The Cubs have done the same thing this off-season by moving Dejesus to CF where he is below average defensively

      • Noah

        This is true, but the decisions the Cubs make of this sort are far less likely to impact if the Cubs will make the playoffs in 2013 or not. Odds are they aren’t. The Reds should be competing for an NL Central title.

        However, as I indicated below in my reply to Doc, the Reds should see more improvement on offense than they’ll see negatives on defense.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      and they’ll score more runs because of it. But they’ll also give up more runs.

      Right, but they won’t be close to being equal. The Reds run differential should increase markedly because of this. (In part, this will stop Dusty from using Stubbs at the top of the order; of course, he still will gift Cozart to the opposing starter.)

      • Noah

        I agree with you. I think they improve significantly more offensively than they get worse defensively.

      • Kyle

        It might be closer than you’d think.

        Choo is 30, hasn’t played CF since 2009 (and that was for only a few innings), and was a -17 run RF in 2012 according to UZR.

        I’ll wait and see how Choo handles CF, but there’s plenty of downside in putting him there.

  • terencemann

    I kind of like how the Indians are shaping up. I feel like 2012 went as poorly as possible for them and they’re capable of more.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, the Indians were among the MLB leaders in wins over expected given run differential for much of the season! So, they were not just bad: they were a very bad team that made themselves look only bad by being lucky.

  • Eric

    Brett, do you think the Cubs will end up with atleast one significant trade? Maybe something involving Soriano or Garza or a package deal for a MLB ready core piece? I’m hoping so but I’m losing hope.

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  • ncsujuri

    I asked this question of Luke in the Soriano to Phillies comments that were trending towards discussion of the Three Way trade as well…Does AZ trading two relievers as part of this deal make it more likely that Peralta sticks with them and we lose him permanently? Seems to me the answer would be yes.

    • Brett

      While I doubt they made the move with those specific intentions, it was probably a peripheral consideration, and, yes, it does make it slightly more likely that they’ll be able to make him stick.

  • Kyle

    It feels so much later in the offseason than it actually is.

    At this time last year, we still hadn’t yet acquired 7 players who would be on the Opening Day roster, and a couple more who should have been or would make impacts later.