According to multiple sources, Cincinnati is close to acquiring outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians in a three-team deal that will send outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius packing elsewhere. Stubbs will be heading upstate to the Indians in the deal while Gregorius appears to be heading to Arizona as the newest member of the Diamondbacks. The Reds are also rumored to be receiving utility infielder Jason Donald from Cleveland.
The 30-year old Choo has quietly established himself as one of the most underrated outfielders in baseball. In 8 years as a major leaguer, Choo owns a career slash line of .289/.381/.465 and has tallied more than 14 homers and 66 RBI in four of the past five seasons. He posted a .283/.373/.441 line with 16 homers, 43 doubles, 88 runs scored, and 67 RBI in 2012. He also swiped 20 bases (21 to be exact) for the third time in the past four years in '12.
His presence at the top of the batting order should make an immediate impact for a club that struggled mightily at the leadoff spot last year. Reds leadoff hitters ranked dead last in MLB in several offensive categories including average and on-base percentage. Naturally, the club's top priority this offseason was to find a better solution at the No. 1 slot. After kicking the tires on other alternatives, adding Choo just seemed to make the most sense.
Of course, the deal didn't come without a price for the reigning NL Central Champs. The Reds will have to finally part ways with 2006 first round pick Stubbs. They will also have to say goodbye to one of their top defensive prospects in Gregorius. The loss of Gregorius may not be a huge loss considering the fact that the team already has Zack Cozart inserted at short, but giving up on Stubbs may be a tad bit harder.
Donald, a 28-year old utilityman, is the other player the Reds are set to receive. He batted .202/.246/.282 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 43 games in 2012. He may prove to be a valuable contributor to the Cincinnati bench once it's all said and done.
*Update (8:46 PM): The deal is done, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. The exchange also includes about $3.5 million from Cleveland to Cincinnati to help cover Choo's anticipated 2013 salary*