According to multiple media outlets, the deal sending Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald to the Cincinnati Reds for Didi Gregorius and Drew Stubbs is now official.
We won’t know for sure for a long time, but this appears to be a coup for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who has been very active early this offseason.
First the Reds locked up relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton to a 3-year, $21 million deal.
Then Jocketty and Co. inked LF Ryan Ludwick to a 2-year, $15 million contract.
And now the trade that no one saw coming before today. There was a lot of chatter about the Reds perhaps “renting” free agent CF Michael Bourn for a year, but no one brought up Choo and I can see why. Choo was a RF with the Indians (except for some action in CF in 2009) and the Reds already have one of the best RF’s in the game in Jay Bruce. Also, any thoughts of Choo playing LF were erased when Ludwick was re-signed.
However, Choo is a good defensive outfielder and I think he can handle playing CF for a season, especially when you consider the fact that he’s played the position before at the MLB level. Stubbs is an overrated defensive outfielder in my book. Yes, he’s extremely fast, but that’s about it. He’s very poor on balls hit right in front of him. Granted, that’s a tough play for outfielders, but the great ones make those plays. Stubbs almost always pulls up on balls hit in front of him, even when it looks like he has a good chance to make the catch. He’s also not good near the wall. So, while everyone knows Stubbs is a dreadful offensive player, he somehow gets more credit than he deserves defensively.
Getting Donald in this deal is also good for the Reds because he will be an upgrade over Wilson Valdez as the team’s backup middle infielder.
Other than signing a backup third baseman (Jack Hannahan has been mentioned) and a few other minor moves, the Reds are likely done doing anything of note this offseason. Then again, maybe Jocketty has one more trick up his sleeve. What a job he’s done since taking over and Cincinnati once again has the makings of a playoff team.