As you have already heard, the Indians, Diamondbacks, and Reds just pulled off a 3 way deal....
- To Reds: RF Shin-Soo Choo; IF Jason Donald
- To D'Backs: SS Didi Gregorius; LHP Tony Sipp; 1B Lars Anderson
- To Indians: OF Drew Stubbs; RHPs Trevor Bauer ; Matt Albers; Bryan Shaw
The principles here are Choo, Gregorius, and Bauer.
My first thought was how low Bauer's stock has fallen. This was the #3 pick in a loaded 2011 draft and the #3 prospect overall. He rocketed through the Diamondbacks system all the way to the majors by his first full year as a pro.
But questions about his command and coachability soon surfaced and the Diamondbacks surprised teams by suggesting he'd be available in the right deal. I certainly didn't think the right deal was a good, but not great SS prospect. Which brings me to my next thought.
True shortstops are rare in this game and Gregorius has the arm and range to play the position, though there are some questions about his hands. As a hitter, he's aggressive and doesn't have a whole lot of power -- present or potential.
Yes, the Diamondbacks are loaded with pitchers and were dealing from depth, but the fact remains that, in a vacuum, Bauer is the better prospect. Despite the warts, he has ace potential. Gregorius, meanwhile, would do well if he became an average MLB SS.
Then again, it isn't out of the question that Bauer's command issues force him to the bullpen -- perhaps something the D'Backs have considered. If he ends up in the pen, then the deal suddenly looks a lot better for AZ.
Adding to the idea of the value of a young, cost-controlled SS is the idea that the D'Backs were willing to make Justin Upton available for either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, but Texas would not part with either -- and most experts didn't blame them. The Braves also refused to part with their young SS Andrelton Simmons.
So how does all this affect the Cubs? There is at least one long term and one short term implication that came to mind.
- This is more of a long term issue but the Cubs have 5 potential true shortstops in their minor league system: Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Marco Hernandez, and Carlos Penalver. Only Castro has played in the majors and none of the others have even had a full season at advanced A ball. It's almost impossible to get equal value for Castro and the Cubs will almost certainly hold on to Baez as well, but if one of the other shortstops develop, the Cubs could have themselves a big trade chip in a year or two. You can never have too many shortstops. They have value either on the market and/or because they are often able to switch to just about any other position on the field defensively.
- Two more OF'ers, Justin Upton and Shin-Soo Choo, are off the market. It could have a domino effect. This makes it more likely that the Rangers will try to re-sign Josh Hamilton, thus keeping him away from the Phillies. We know that the Phillies are looking for an OF'er who can also bat in the middle of the lineup. It would leave them with Cody Ross as a FA, who is getting interest from several teams. If Ross signs elsewhere, the Phillies may turn to Soriano to fill that need. And with the market dwindling, other teams could turn to Soriano as well as RH power source.
We're starting to see a market develop here and the Cubs should be watching with great interest. They could stand to benefit both now and over the next couple of years.
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