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Indians, Reds deep in talks regarding Shin-Soo Choo trade

Indians, Reds deep in talks regarding Shin-Soo Choo trade
December 11, 2012
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Update 7:58pm ET: Ken Rosenthal,'s senior baseball writer is reporting that it is a confirmed three-team trade that will send Shin Soo Choo and Jason Donald to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks, with the Indians receiving centerfielder Drew Stubbs and one of the young prospect pitchers from Arizona. The pitchers are believed to be lefty Patrick Corbin, lefty Tyler Skaggs or righty Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal believes that Skaggs is unlikely. While Bauer is rated ahead of Skaggs right now, the lefty power pitchers seems to have more momentum, and more upside.

Update 6:57pm ET: The deal is extremely fluid right now, but it appears as though the Indians would acquire Gregorius, then send him to Arizona. The Diamondbacks prefer Gregorios because they would have him under control through 2019. Arizona would, in turn, send a young pitcher(s) to the Indians as compensation. Asdrubal Cabrera would remain with the Indians in such a deal. It's likely that the deal...or deals...will be completed tonight.

Update 5:27pm ET: Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer is reporting that a three-team deal between the Diamondbacks, Indians and Reds is cooking. Whether it is a three-team deal or two separate deals is unknown, but the Diamondbacks really like Gregorius and it is possible he could be going to them, Choo and a player to the Reds, and the Indians get Stubbs and one of the Diamondbacks' young pitchers.



According to a report from Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, the Indians and Reds are deep in trade talks for Shin-Soo Choo. The reported players the Indians could receive in the deal are young shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Drew Stubbs. There is also talk that the Indians may send another player to the Reds to complete the deal.

Gregorius, 22, hit .265 with 7 HR, 54 RBI, and .717 OPS in 129 combined games between Double-A and Triple-A last season. The left-handed hitter also made his Major League debut and went 8-for-20 in eight games for the Reds. He is a good defensive shortstop with a plus arm and has some skills with the bat, though the consistency of his bat is a question mark at the big league level. 

Stubbs, 28, hit .214 with 14 HR, 40 RBI, 30 stole bases and .610 OPS in 136 games for the Reds last season. He is a right-handed hitter that is prone to strikeouts with 588 in 1791 career at bats in the big leagues, but he has some power, speed and versatility where he can play all three outfield positions. 

If such a deal goes through, it is possible it may mean that a trade of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is imminent, or that Gregorius would be flipped to another team as part of a deal for a pitcher. With Choo gone it could also mean the Indians are close to signing an outfielder, possibly Nick Swisher or maybe even Cody Ross.

Trade talks are always fluid, so the names could change, but when such talks get leaked and said to be as far along as they are, it usually means a trade is forthcoming. We will see what happens.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

December 12, 2012 - 4:20 AM EST
Not sure what anyone would dislike about this trade from the indians perspective. Time will tell but it looks like the indians filled some holes with a FOR pitching prospect, an excellent defensive OF who hits LHP and two functional RPs. They gave up Choo for one year, a decent LHRP and two fringe players. Overall, I would think the risk makes some sense. It does not fix the OF but it fills the lineup with some potential.
December 11, 2012 - 9:28 PM EST
Agree if those other pieces are accurate that is not a bad move, though the pressure is now on to get things done on the free agent side. I am also a little scared of Bauer, especially since AZ seems to be relatively eager to offload him, though ultimately it's a risk worth taking. They REALLY need to sign Swisher. And Ross. Outfield right now is a barren wasteland.
December 11, 2012 - 9:25 PM EST
Tremendous trade by the Tribe!
Reds - Choo and Donald
Dbax - Gregorius, Sipp and Lars Anderson
Tribe - Bauer, Stubbs, Albers and Shaw
December 11, 2012 - 9:21 PM EST
If this trade is correct and we are getting bauer a bluechip frontend of the rotation starter, stubbs a poor mans sizemore, and two solid front end of the bullpen pitchers just choo, donald, anderson, and sipp.......The Indians have made out. I'm very happy with this trade. You keep asdrubal and you still get bauer. Great job front office now lets sign an outfielder and maybe move asdrubal for more pitching.
December 11, 2012 - 9:04 PM EST
Problem is, barring free agent acquisitions, I don't see how it's an improvement. It's certainly a downgrade for 2013. If I had to rank the Indians needs, outfield would've taken precedence over pitching even before this trade. Prior to this, the front office seemed to agree, since they were throwing money at Victorino and Swisher, not Edwin Jackson. So you're robbing yourself in the area you were weakest, to upgrade in the area you were second weakest. It all depends on what subsequent moves they make, but if this is how it goes down, I don't see it working out well for them. If this means Choo is the CF for the Reds though, I might have to tune into some Cincy games for amusement's sake.
December 11, 2012 - 9:03 PM EST
The choo and donald to the reds for stubbs and gregorios has been reported by jon heyman on twitter. The indians to diamondbacks trade has yet to be announced.
December 11, 2012 - 9:01 PM EST
Hears the deal I've heard..
Reds - Choo and Donald
Indians - Bauer and Stubbs
Dbax - Gregorius, Sipp, Anderson
December 11, 2012 - 8:17 PM EST

According to every source I've talked to, Arizona wanted three-plus years of control from whatever shortstop they acquired, based on the pitchers that they were putting out there. I'm not sure they wouldn't eventually have bitten on Cabrera...but it's good to see the Indians being proactive either way.

I concur, that the Indians outfield is left bare right now, and they may NOT have the outfielders in the bag, but I do think this is the ONLY way for the Indians to improve their team. They have to take these type of risks.

Of course that's only my opinion...with Choo off the books, it WILL give them five million or so to play with. Stubbs has an arbitration number in the 2-3 million range I think...

So perhaps two outfielders could be in play.
December 11, 2012 - 8:17 PM EST
Jason donald for stubbs and choo for either corbin or bauer is a great deal for the indians. Corbin would be our 4th or 5th starter right now and stubbs will get 350-400 plate apperancesin the outfield. I would prefer Bauer due to his much greater upside but Corbin is still a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Something the Indians need badly. I would like to pat myself on the back for the Jason Donald call. lol
December 11, 2012 - 8:14 PM EST
Seth, I'm not following your logic at all. You are saying Cabrera for Bauer is better than Choo for Bauer? No freaking way. Choo doesn't have anywhere near the same trade value as Cabrera, so to be able to avoid trading Cabrera and using Choo to get a potential very good young starter? It's a fantastic deal and WAY more than anyone could have dreamed. Not to mention the Indians still have Cabrera as a big trade chip to fill other needs. Sure, the Indians would be left with a hole in RF, but I think they are about to fill it in FA.
December 11, 2012 - 8:09 PM EST
Would the D-backs not bite on Cabrera for one of their pitchers? A deal of essentially Choo for, let's say Bauer, imo is a much worse move for the Indians than Cabrera for Bauer. Unless they have Swisher in the bag, and also pick up Ross. Which is just highly unlikely.
December 11, 2012 - 8:02 PM EST
Looks like the deal is very close.
Dbax land Gregorius
Reds land Choo and Donald
Tribe land Stubbs and Bauer / Corbin.
I'm hoping for Bauer, might be Corbin seems like he could be a fit too. Bauer has more upside, but Corbin is a talented LHSP so it would be hard to dislike it IMO.
December 11, 2012 - 7:49 PM EST
The biggest problem the Indians have though is attracting free agents. Any move of Choo, you're pretty much banking on being able to sign Swisher and/or at least Ross ... otherwise, why bother with any of these moves, since 2/3 of your outfield is going to be scrubs for the foreseeable future. Cabrera always made sense as a move to acquire a Bauer, because the Indians could use a top pitching prospect more than they can use a shortstop, since they at least had Aviles, and AZ can use a shortstop more than they can use a pitching prospect. The same is not true for the outfield. Sans Choo, the Indians actually would have a greater need for an outfielder (actually two) than a pitching prospect. I would not be a fan of a Choo for Bauer swap at all.
December 11, 2012 - 7:49 PM EST
I can live with Stubbs in CF for a season if we can get Skaggs out of the deal and then send Cabrera to Houston.

Wonder if the player on the 40 man roster might be Phelps?
December 11, 2012 - 7:37 PM EST
Interesting... if the team could essentially flip Choo for, say, Bauer and Stubbs? Better than I think we could have imagined for a rental player. Really curious to see what happens here.
December 11, 2012 - 7:34 PM EST
Drew stubbs has three years of control left. This would be his first year for arbitration. His numbers from last season should hurt his value in arbitration so his salary should be in the 1.5-2 million range. Choo was looking at 6-7. thats a solid savings that i hope the indians use on a pitcher like edwin jackson or hitter like ross or adding on to the offer they have towards swisher. Either way as long as paulino or lindor is not going in this deal and they land bauer or skaggs......its a huge win for the indians.
December 11, 2012 - 7:20 PM EST
Think your spot on Adam. Outside having my morning
Coffee in 90' sunshine surprised as hell b/c only yesterday
Was all quiet on the choo front.
Tony, wld Stubbs then become tribe lead off hitter
& what type of team control with him? Cheaper than choo
I'm guessing. Have you heard if Tribe in on E.Jackson at all?Wld love to get Bauer/Skaggs & still have Acab
But hope Lindor & Paulino not a part of the deal.
Shy, get the feeling your not a F.O fan ???
December 11, 2012 - 7:11 PM EST
Also I think it should be noted Stubbs has a career .821 OPS against lefties, making him a pretty good candidate for a 4th OF. Trading Choo should also free up money they planned on giving him in arbitration, which should allow us to fill the RF vacancy in free agency.
December 11, 2012 - 6:56 PM EST
I think people may be over-reacting to us targeting Stubbs. Clearly, our target here is Gregarious in order to flip him to the D-Backs. Essentially, we'd be trading Choo (and whoever this other player is) for Stubbs and one of (hopefully) Bauer/Skaggs. If that's how this shakes out...that is a huge, gigantic win for the Indians, of course assuming this other player isn't anybody who we'll greatly miss.

The best part about this, if you ask me, is we could potentially land one of the SP's we desire, and still have our best trade chip in house. If we could land a good young SP for Choo, now we could have our choice of dealing Cabrera or hanging onto him.
December 11, 2012 - 6:52 PM EST
I'm not a drew stubbs fan but im guessing he would be a 4th utility outfielder. I'm also guessing the player traded maybe a prospect relief arm or a juan diaz, jason donald, or chris mcguiness type. I can't see the indians dealing choo a better player than stubbs and an equal level prospect for this gregorios. Even if it lands us a bauer or skaggs. We will see but if we move choo and get one of those pitchers you have to be happy. Now we can either keep cabrera or deal him for more pitching. The key to this trade is we have to sign ross or swisher. I'm liking the Indians aggressiveness and also not giving in like they did with the jimenez and cliff lee deals. maybe their is a change in the winds......only time will tell
December 11, 2012 - 6:32 PM EST
Brian, not sure if it is a ML guy or a prospect the Indians would include. Only thing known is that it likely is a position player. I wouldn't think Lindor or paulino is included. My guess is someone else on the 40man.
December 11, 2012 - 6:25 PM EST
Are you thinking MLB guy or prospect Tony? I don't think we can get away with bauer+stubbs for choo+marson. Are you thinking someone like Chiz, top prospect like lindor/paulino, or B prospect like RRod/Aguilar?
December 11, 2012 - 6:08 PM EST
Reports that Cabrera is not in the deal. Also that Gregorius would go to the Dbacks. If the Indians somehow manage to trade Choo and net a decent 3rd/4th outfielder in Drew Stubbs and a young front of the rotation type in Bauer/Skaggs....color me impressed. Of course the Indians would also send another position player in the deal (not Cabrera) so it might lessen my excitement.
December 11, 2012 - 6:06 PM EST
This whole thing sounds a little far-fetched. There had better be some more usable talent coming Cleveland's way for this to work.
Bauer/Skaggs for Cabrera/Lindor is not good. Has to be another moving part. Stubbs is a throw in. Choo for a questionable prospect ? No, never !!! You are right Tony, let's wait and see what shakes out, but we may not like the droppings !!!
December 11, 2012 - 5:55 PM EST
Kevin Towers and Walt Jocketty are going to work Antonetti over. Would be great to have a competent GM. Prepare to be bent over.

Stubbs had a .610 ops last year with half of his games in the bandbox in Cincy.
December 11, 2012 - 5:53 PM EST
Man, would really have to see how this shakes out. Are we sure this isn't a baseless rumor someone made up to generate some excitement in slow off season? The hardest part to believe would perhaps be the Reds ... CF, really? They might want to watch some videos of Indians games from the last couple years before they make that move. Maybe Choo could hit .300 with 20 HRs and still manage to post a negative WAR. Sort of the anti-Franklin Gutierrez.

The only way this would make sense for Cleveland, is if they plan on getting both Skaggs and Bauer from AZ with some kind of Cabrera + prospect swap (but, would think they could do this with Cabrera and Lindor, if AZ were going to bite at something like that), and then turn around and sign Swisher AND Ross. I've actually thought trading Choo, signing Ross and still pursuing Swisher would be a smart move, so I guess I'll withhold judgment until everything shakes out, or until this is declared baseless CBS Sports rumer-mongering. The problem I would see, is the Indians can't attract 1 free agent, much less 2
December 11, 2012 - 5:30 PM EST
Skeptical, these talks are fluid. But late Wednesday night there was talk the deal was "done". Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports recently wrote that he heard the same thing.
December 11, 2012 - 5:27 PM EST
Tony, how is this any different from when your site published last week that an Asdrubal Cabrera trade to Arizona was "imminent"?
December 11, 2012 - 5:22 PM EST
The Reds would reportedly play Choo in center field. Seriously. I think that is laughable, but okay. Anyway, this appears to just be the tip of the ice berg to other trades/FA signings. I need to see the full context to this deal - if it happens - before I try to make sense of it.

Also, people have to remember that Lindor is a few years away. Maybe a late 2014 ETA, but more likely 2015. And, such a pickup could make some of their shortstop prospects available in a deal for ML pitching.
December 11, 2012 - 5:21 PM EST
Rob, if they get the job at Subway let me know so I never eat there. I might go in to beat on them. You know, not to get overly metaphoric or theological here, but hope is a sacred trust. Indians fans have had it to some degree for over a hundred years, it has been carried on by every generation of owners, managers, teams and fans and passed on to the next generation. These guys have stolen the hope, taken it outside, put a bullet of it's head, and now are about to bury it,
December 11, 2012 - 5:16 PM EST
This doesn't seem to make sense. Unless they are confident they can get Swisher to sign, which there is no reason they should be since he does not seem interested, they would be significantly downgrading the lineup, and the stated return is garbage. And why would the Reds want Choo, when they have Bruce and just signed Ludwick?

If the Indians are looking to acquire a SS to flip in a trade, why don't they trade one of the prospects they already have? If there's one thing the Indians have a lot of, it's high-upside SS prospects. I can't imagine AZ would rather have Gregorius than Lindor, for example, especially in tandem with Cabrera, and I'd certainly rather go with Choo and Aviles, than ____/Stubbs? and Gregorius. It would seem to be a lose-lose trade, the Reds get an outfielder for a year who they don't need, and the Indians get some junk they don't need.
December 11, 2012 - 5:14 PM EST
We cannot have Reynolds AND Stubbs in the lineup... Too many strikeouts.

It feels like Antonetti is making moves just to say that he did.

Hold on to Choo, then move him at the deadline.
December 11, 2012 - 5:11 PM EST
Tony, thanks for the scoop! But how does this make sense to anything but the twisted baseball mentality of Chris Antonutti? Stubbs is a flameout and the only used to be starter who strikes out more frequently than he does is the other contact challenged guy he just signed Mark Reynolds. If I was pitcher and I was on a pitch count of 6, those two would be who I'd want to face. Didi Gregorio at 22 and LH? With Lindor and Paulino at SS turning heads everywhere they play? And a dependably good guy in Aviles that is a lock to start there if Cabrera is traded? If Choo is traded to round out the Cincy pennant contending outfield in 2013, then you have to get something back that can help the Indians. The only thing Gregorio and Stubbs will do for the Indians is accelerate the impending demise of the franchise. Maybe that's a good thing. You can't build a cathedral out of the ashes until the palace burns down.
December 11, 2012 - 5:11 PM EST
Stubbs and Reynolds in the same lineup? Gotta love our break all time K record. I f'ing despise Stubbs, refuses to adjust and just gives up ab's. I hate the idea if MS and CA making these decisions. They should be managing at Subway.

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