This is hard for me to say. Not because I have trouble admitting when an American League Central team makes a good move. I try to give credit where it is due. It’s hard for me to say, because I never thought the Cleveland Indians would do something smart again with their current leadership in place. That may be harsh, but the Indians have been floating in this sea of uncertainty since their trade for Ubaldo Jimenez down the stretch of the 2011 season. That mistake in believing they were a legitimate contender has left Cleveland with a poor farm system, and a poor major league club.
But, I give credit where credit is due.
Today, the Indians and their GM Chris Antonetti did something right. They realized that they had a trade chip in veteran outfielder in Shin- Soo Choo, and they used it to good effect. In a three team deal with the Reds and Diamondbacks, Cleveland acquired outfielder Drew Stubbs and pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. They also added two bullpen arms in Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Cleveland also gave up infielder Jason Donald, reliever Tony Sipp and minor leaguer Lars Anderson in the deal, who landed with the Diamondbacks, the losers in the deal.
This is a step in a positive direction for the Indians and their fans. It means they are looking towards the future because they understand it’s difficult to compete in the present. Detroit, and now Kansas City look to be the two best teams in the division.
While I absolutely love Choo as a player, the Indians added quite a bit of upside here. Bauer, who has big time potential, could be an anchor in the Cleveland rotation for years to come, despite his struggles in his short time in the big leagues. Stubbs, despite having awful plate discipline, still has quality tools. He runs well, and defends at an above average level as well. He also will show power from time to time. His approach is obviously awful, but there is enough talent there to hope for a bit of a bounce back after a rough 2012.
That isn’t even to mention the two bullpen arms in Albers and Shaw that will compete for roster spots in the pen.