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CLEVELAND — Shin-Soo Choo didn’t want to be part of the Indians’ future. So they’re moving on without him.
Cleveland traded the talented outfielder to the Cincinnati Reds and acquired prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team deal involving nine players.
“This is a trade that can impact our team not only for 2013, but for the future,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “Three of the players we acquired we will have under control for at least the next three seasons.”
The Diamondbacks also received shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius from Cincinnati.
Choo, primarily a right fielder for Cleveland since he was acquired from Seattle in 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, from South Korea, batted .283 with 16 homers and 67 RBIs in 155 games last season. He had been considered a core player for the Indians, who collapsed in August and finished 68-94 — two games out of last place in the AL Central.
“It was really tough,” Antonetti said of trading Choo. “I talked with Shin-Soo tonight and expressed my profound appreciation for his professionalism. He is always one of the first to arrive for workouts, whether it is spring training or just a game.”
With plenty of power in the middle of the lineup, Cincinnati has lacked a prototypical leadoff man to get on base consistently in front of sluggers such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier. Brandon Phillips, who previously batted cleanup at times, was pressed into leadoff duty last season despite a .322 career on-base percentage.
Choo can also hit the ball out of the ballpark, but his .381 career OBP fits the bill at the top of the order. He also had 43 doubles and 21 steals this year.
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.
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