CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds and acquired prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal Tuesday night.
Center fielder Drew Stubbs was sent from Cincinnati to Cleveland as part of the nine-player swap.
In addition to Stubbs, the Indians received Bauer, the No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft, and right-handers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks.
Cleveland shipped Choo, infielder Jason Donald and about $3.5 million to the Reds, while sending left-handed reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to Arizona.
The Diamondbacks also received shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius from Cincinnati.
Choo, who has been Cleveland’s primary right fielder since 2006, will play center and bat leadoff for Cincinnati.
“It was very difficult giving up home-grown talent, but we think Choo can fill the missing parts in our lineup both offensively and defensively,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement. “He is an exciting player, and we expect him to set the table.”
Dealing Choo was almost a necessity for the Indians. He was entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for free agency in 2013. The Indians have not been able to work out a deal with agent Scott Boras, who has turned down several extensions in recent years.
The 30-year-old Choo batted .283 with 16 homers and 67 RBIs in 155 games last season. Donald hit .202 in 43 games.
The speedy Stubbs has played center exclusively for the Reds, helping them win NL Central titles in 2010 and 2012. He batted .213 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs last season, striking out 166 times in 493 at-bats. He has 100 stolen bases over the past three years, including 30 in 2012.
Bauer, one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, became the first member of the 2011 draft class to reach the majors and went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts for Arizona this year. The 21-year-old right-hander out of UCLA struggled with his control, compiling 13 walks and 17 strikeouts in 16 1-3 innings.
Bauer spent most of the season in the minors, going a combined 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts at Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He had 157 strikeouts and 61 walks while allowing 107 hits in 130 1-3 innings.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said he was sorry to part with Bauer, but “we’re fortunate to have a lot of pitching depth.”
The 22-year-old Gregorius, considered a defensive whiz, spent last season with Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville before appearing in eight games for the Reds.
The Diamondbacks have been looking for a shortstop to replace Stephen Drew, traded to Oakland in August after returning from a serious ankle injury. They were thought to be interested in Indians All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera, though Towers wouldn’t comment on that.
Towers said Gregorius reminds him “of a young Derek Jeter.” Gregorius will go to spring camp and compete for the starting job in the big leagues.
Arizona completed a $15.5 million, two-year contract with right-hander Brandon McCarthy on Tuesday and also acquired reliever Heath Bell from Miami earlier this offseason. Towers said those additions make it “highly unlikely” the team will trade slugger Justin Upton.
– Associated Press