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.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.