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.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Indians manager Terry Francona has set his starting rotation for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs. Corey Kluber will start Game One, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games Two and Three, respectively.
Kluber, the ace of the staff, has had a terrific postseason. He’s made three starts with a 0.98 ERA and a 20/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings. The Indians won two of his starts — Game Two of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
Bauer was unable to make it out of the first inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Blue Jays after the stitches on his pinky opened up and caused blood to pour out. He suffered the injury repairing one of his drones, which he builds as a hobby. Bauer insists he’ll be good to go in Game Two, though he also insisted that the injury wouldn’t be an impediment against the Jays.
Tomlin has made two solid starts for the Indians, allowing a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings. The Indians won both games he started, Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 2 of the ALCS. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that if Bauer can’t go in Game Two, Tomlin will be moved up to start in his place.
It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for FOXSports.com, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.
Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.
What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.
A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.
This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.
Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.