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The Bauer Trade: What Did Arizona Get Back?

I don't think I've seen the trade of a pitcher with a major-league ERA over six result in the formation of such a large mob with pitchforks... But let's leave that side of the equation for now. Let's start by looking at what is coming back to the Diamondbacks.

J. Meric

Didi Gregorius

The top piece is obviously shortstop Didi Gregorius, about whom I wrote a little bit earlier, as news of the trade began to brew. He certainly cost a lot less for the Reds to bring into their organization than Bauer: while born in Amsterdam, he was raised in Curacao, and was signed out of there as a 17-year-old by Cincinnati in 2007, with a signing bonus reported as a mere $50,000. His father was also a baseball player, but a pitcher, who pitched both in Curacao and in the Dutch baseball leagues - he represented the Dutch Antilles in various events over almost a quarter of a century. Didi's brother,. Johnny, is also a pitcher, who has played in the Antilles, Netherlands and Italy.

Didi got his pro start in 2008, appearing in 31 games of rookie ball, and the following year see him play both in Rookie ball and High-A. He repeated A-ball in 2010, and played the winter in Australia, but 2011 saw him progress, hitting .289 between High-A and Double-A. He started 2011 there, but in mid-July, after batting .278, he was moved up from Pensacola to Louisville. When the major-league rosters expanded in September, he was added to the Reds roster, and made his debut against the Phillies on September 1st. His best game came later than month against the Marlins, when Gregorius got three hits, and drove in his first run.

The key thing to remember here is that the guy is young. He's only 22, which makes him younger and with less experience than most of his team-mates in Double-A, and a lot younger than his team-mates in Triple-A. I mentioned this in the comments on the rumor thread, but let's just turn it into a nice table, shall we? :) Here are Gregorius's 2012 numbers, compared to his team-mates at those two levels.

Didi Age Didi OPS Team Age Team OPS
Double-A 22 .717 23.9 .683
Triple-A 22 .715 26.9 .681

For comparison, there was only one other 22-year old on Louisville roster: Henry Rodriguez, a Venezuelan, who put up a .597 OPS in a similar number of bats to Gregorius. So we've got a player at a prime defensive position, whom just about everyone says is a wizard with the glove, who is also putting up better than club average offensive numbers, despite being young for both the levels at which he played. It's perhaps also worth pointing out that Stephen Drew spent part of his age 22 season in Double-A: his OPS in 27 games there was lower, at .687 [though I do admit Drew smacked the snot out of the ball in High-A]

Another way to look at his production came courtesy of Shoewizard - the chart shows all the shortstops in the International League with 200+ PAs, ranked by wRC+ [which is a measure of offense, similar to OPS+, with 100 being league average. That's not adjusted for position, please note: the major-league average for shortstops this year was 86]. Gregorius's 92 ranked him 8th of 22 qualifying players, and his figure was the best of any shortstop in the league aged under 25. There have been claims that what we got was little more than some kind of scrub, but I really think that's hard to justify.

According to the team, Gregorius will be competing for the starting shortstop job with Cliff Pennington in spring training, but I think that's probably more of a token gesture than anything. I expect him to get more seasoning in Triple-A, with the aim of him perhaps being the starting shortstop in 2014. Chris Owings could conceivably be in the picture by that point too, though he is 18 months younger than Gregorius. The idea has already been floated of Owings sliding to second base, if Gregorius proves capable of becoming the team;s everyday shortstop.

Tony Sipp

There were two other players also received in the trade. Tony Sipp is a left-handed reliever, with a career ERA of 3.68 in 248 appearances for the Indians. That's a 109 ERA+, and he doesn't particularly profile as only being good against left-handed bats: his career OPS against them is not much lower than right-handers, at .706 compared to .727. He will be under club control for three more years, and joins Matt Reynolds to give the team more decent southpaw options out of the 'pen, than we've had for a while. In fact, the last time we had two LHRP throw 20+ innings, with ERA+ both better than 85, they were Greg Swindell and Troy Brohawn in 2001.

He throws a fastball that sits around 92-93 mph, and uses that about two-thirds of the time. The majority of the balance is a slider that sits around 83, and he goes to that particularly against left-handed hitters, and when he's ahead in the count. His change-up is almost exclusive reserved for right-handers. Sipp has a Twitter, though I think he does have some way to go to reach Bauer-esque levels of Twitter outrageousness:

Lars Anderson

The final component is Lars Anderson, whose picture can be found in the dictionary, next to the phrase "throw in." The 25-year-old first baseman got three cups of coffee with the Red Sox, appearing in a grand total of 30 games, but was dealt to the Indians at the deadline for a sardonic stand-up comic. At least, I presume that's the "Stephen Wright" in question. Anderson hit .250 with nine home-runs in 111 minor-league games last year, between the two franchises. Given Arizona already has a first-baseman with whom they are quite happy, thank you very much, it's hard to see how Lars fits into the picture going forward.