That three-team mega-trade between the Indians, Reds and Diamondbacks has been made official.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the breakdown:
OF Shin-Soo Choo
INF Jason Donald
SP Trevor Bauer
OF Drew Stubbs
RP Bryan Shaw
RP Matt Albers
SS Didi Gregorius
RP Tony Sipp
OF Lars Anderson
Declaring winners and losers moments after a trade has been completed is futile, but it sure seems like the Diamondbacks got hosed here. Gregorius is a strong defensive shortstop, but the 22-year-old has registered a paltry .323 on-base percentage in five minor league seasons and seems doubtful to develop much power. Sipp is only a mediocre left-handed reliever and Anderson’s star has faded over the past couple of years.
That’s not a very impressive return for a guy like Bauer, who was drafted third overall in 2011 and had gaudy numbers (2.42 ERA, 157/61 K/BB over 130 1/3 innings) in 2012 between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
On the other side of things, Bauer is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Indians, who have been dying for quality young starting pitching. And Stubbs is a guy that makes sense for the Tribe because he carries such excellent raw tools. The 28-year-old center fielder is worth the risk for a rebuilding franchise.
It’s also quite easy to love this deal for Cincinnati. In Choo, the Reds get a perfect leadoff man to place in front of Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. Their outfield defense may be iffy, but that’s a dynamic starting lineup that should tear through most National League pitching.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.