Shin-Soo Choo heads to Reds, Trevor Bauer lands with Indians in three-team mega-trade

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That three-team mega-trade between the Indians, Reds and Diamondbacks has been made official.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the breakdown:

Reds get:

OF Shin-Soo Choo
INF Jason Donald

Indians get:

SP Trevor Bauer
OF Drew Stubbs
RP Bryan Shaw
RP Matt Albers

Diamondbacks get:

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.

Major League Baseball orders balls stored in climate controlled rooms for some reason

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Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that Major League Baseball will mandate that teams store baseballs in “an air-conditioned and enclosed room[s]” this season. He adds that the league will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity during the 2018 season, with such data being used to determine if humidors — like the ones being used in Colorado and Arizona — are necessary for 2019.

This move comes a year after Major League Baseball’s single season, league-wide home run record was shattered, with 6,105 dingers being hit. It also comes after a year in which two different studies — one by Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman for The Ringer, and another by FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur — found evidence that baseballs were altered at some point around the middle of the 2015 season which coincided with home run numbers spiking in the middle of that year, quite suddenly.

Also coming last year: multiple player complaints about the baseball seeming different, with pitchers blaming a rash of blister problems stemming from what they believed to be lower seams on the baseballs currently in use than those in use in previous years. Players likewise complained about unusually smooth and/or juiced baseballs during the World Series, which some believe led to a spike of home runs in the Fall Classic.

To date, Major League Baseball has steadfastly denied that the balls are a problem, first issuing blatantly disingenuous denials,  and later using carefully chosen words to claim nothing was amiss. Specifically, Major League Baseball claimed that the balls were within league specifications but failed to acknowledge that league specifications are wide enough to encompass baseballs which could have radically different flight characteristics while still, technically, being within spec.

Based on Verducci’s report, it seems that MLB is at least past the denial stage and is attempting to understand and address the issues about which many players have complained and which have, without question, impacted offense in the game:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MLB commissioned a research project after last season to study the composition, storage and handling of the baseballs. He said that investigation is not yet completed. “I’m not at the point to jump that gun right now,” he said about the findings.

The investigation is not yet completed, but the fact that the league is now ordering changes in the manner in which balls are handled before use suggests to me that the league has learned that there is at least something amiss about the composition or manufacture of the baseballs.

Major League Baseball is a lot of things, but quick to impose costs and changes of process on its clubs like this is not one of them. There is likely a good reason for it.