Well, that was quite a rush; while driving home tonight, I was under the impression that the Indians were going to trade Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds for Didi Gregorius. Five hours and seven more players later, the Indians have the pitching upgrade that they weren't going to get on the free agent market, and all for one year of Choo (who wasn't going to be the club after 2013 anyway), Tony Sipp, Jason Donald, and Lars Anderson. The latter two players probably weren't going to last the winter on the 40-man roster, and I'm guessing that's why the Indians included them in the deal.
From the Tribe fan's perspective, the big deal here was the Indians getting Trevor Bauer. Bauer was Baseball America's #9 prospect going into the 2012 season, and he didn't do anything to ruin the praise heaped on him; he held allowed just 107 hits in 130.1 minor-league innings, striking out 157. He did have some control problems, walking 61, but that was the only real knock on his performance. And keep in mind that 2012 was Bauer's first full season in professional baseball; after being drafted third overall in the 2011 draft, he signed in mid-August and only threw 25.2 innings.
So why the heck was Bauer traded given his draft pedigree and success? It seems that one of the reasons was that Bauer and the Arizona staff didn't see eye-to-eye on his conditioning strategy. Bauer is a proponent of extreme long-tossing and works with rubber tubes, an approach that is almost completely at odds with most major-league conditioning regimens. His stuff is excellent, starting with a 12-6 curve, and including a mid-90s fastball. He has two other good pitches (and slider and splitter) and that makes him one of the best pitching prospects in the game. His upside is a top of the rotation pitcher.
What's the risks? Bauer could get hurt and never be the same pitcher again. But to get Bauer the Indians gave up one year of Shin-Soo Choo, two years of Tony Sipp, and two players that are marginal 40-man roster players. Donald was probably not going to last the winter on the 40-man roster, as he was out of options, and Anderson was likely going to spend the 2013 season in AAA trying to resurrect his career. Sipp had a down year in 2012 and is two years away from free agency. So in other words, the Indians didn't risk a whole lot in the package of players they gave up.
The Indians also got back Drew Stubbs, an excellent center fielder but awful hitter, and two relievers from Arizona in Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Shaw is more intriguing of the two, though both could help the Tribe bullpen next season.
Did I say this was going to be quick? Ok, I'll leave off here, with much more to come tomorrow morning.