Indians Boost Pitching Staff in Three-Way Trade
The Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks made a three-way, nine-player trade on Tuesday evening. The Diamondbacks sent pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw to the Indians. The Reds sent shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks. The Reds sent outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Indians. The Indians sent first baseman Lars Anderson and pitcher Tony Sipp to the Diamondbacks. The Indians sent Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, and money to the Reds. Got that straight?
The prospects involved here are Bauer, Gregorius, and Anderson, so here is the scoop on the relevant rookies.
Lars Anderson, 1B: Anderson was an 18th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox back in 2006, from high school in Carmichael, California. He was considered a late first round talent, but fell in the draft due to questionable signability and a strong college commitment, though the Red Sox changed his mind with $825,000. He thrived in the low minors and looked like a potential star after hitting .316/.436/.526 in his 41-game Double-A debut in 2008, but Anderson has been very disappointing since reaching Triple-A, hitting .259/.355/.416 over parts of three seasons. He was traded to the Indians last summer.
Anderson is a 6-4, 215 pound left-handed hitter, born September 25, 1987. He looks like he should be a good hitter, but it just hasn't come together for him. Although he controls the strike zone well and draws some walks, his swing doesn't translate his strength to home run power consistently and he struggles against left-handed pitching. He has a decent glove at first base but doesn't run well enough to play the outfield regularly. At this point, he's a journeyman who doesn't hit enough to be a regular major league first baseman, but who can hold down a Triple-A roster spot for you and serve as an emergency reserve.
Trevor Bauer, RHP: A superstar at UCLA, Bauer had a storied college career and won the Golden Spikes award in 2011. The third player picked in the '11 draft, he was on the fast track to the majors and considered a future rotation anchor. He went 7-1, 1.68 in eight Double-A starts last spring, then 5-1, 2.85 in 14 Triple-A starts, combining for a 12-2, 2.42 record with a 157/61 K/BB in 130 innings, allowing 107 hits. He made four starts with the Diamondbacks, going 1-2, 6.06 with a 17/13 K/BB in 16 innings.
Bauer is a 6-1, 185 pound right-hander, born January 17, 1991. His fastball comes in at 92-96 MPH, he has a nasty curveball, and he mixes in several other pitches including a slider, splitter, and changeup. All of his pitches are either plus offerings right now or will be with more repetitions, and at his best he can dominate a lineup with both power and location, pitching like a true number one starter.
Bauer's command comes and goes, something that major league hitters exploited, and he can get blown up early in the game if his location is off too high in the strike zone. Although no one questions his work ethic, intelligence, and desire to succeed, he's got his own ideas about pitching philosophy and conditioning, and did not take well to the differing suggestions of Arizona coaches. The fact that they were willing to trade a guy who can be a number one starter and is ready for a full major league trial right now shows how quickly that relationship fell apart.
The Indians are aware of this, of course, but they have nothing to lose by giving Bauer a full shot. He has nothing left to prove in the minors, and the Indians have everything to gain by letting him go his own way, banking that he's smart enough to adjust if need be. This could be a real coup for Cleveland.
Didi Gregorius, SS: The Reds signed Gregorius out of Curacao in 2007. He got a $50,000 bonus, making him a bargain pickup considering his development as a player. He hit .278/.344/.373 in 81 games for Double-A Pensacola this year, followed by a .243/.288/.427 line in 48 games for Triple-A Louisville. He went 6-for-20 (.300) in eight games for the Reds, then hit .284/.333/.392 in 20 more contests in the Arizona Fall League. His hitting isn't terrific, but he's made considerable progress from being the guy who hit .155 in rookie ball in 2008.
Gregorius is a 6-1, 185 pound left-handed hitter, born February18, 1990. He's been quite young for his leagues and was pushed aggressively by the Reds due to his defensive skills. His range, hands, and arm strength all rate as above average or excellent, and he's done a good job cutting down errors on routine plays. He's already an above average defensive shortstop and could qualify as excellent with more experience.
His glove should give him a long major league career, but whether he becomes a starter or just a defense-oriented utility player will depend on his bat. Although he hasn't been a terrific hitter, he's begun showing more gap power and some feel for the strike zone. Given his age, I think there is reason to be optimistic.