The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians are reportedly in trade talks, discussing the possibility of the Indians sending Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds in exchange for Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
I won't get into what I think of the trade right now, as this is a prospect site. Instead, let's look at what the Indians would be getting back in Gregorius.
A 22-year-old (he'll be 23 in February) left-handed hitting shortstop, Gregorius was signed by the Reds out of Curacao in 2007. He's played domestically since 2008 and has a career .271/.323/.376 line in five minor league seasons.
He's not an offensive force. What he is is a prospect who has the arm to play anywhere in the infield.
The Reds have used Gregorius exclusively at shortstop, and he has plenty of range and arm to handle the position. The knock on him is his ability to make the routine play.
Before the 2012 season, Marc Hulet of FanGraphs.com said about his defense, "Gregorius has a very strong arm and good range at shortstop but he makes sloppy errors at times." Baseball America had a similar scouting report on him at the same time. During the 2012 season, Gregorius knocked his error total down to 18 in 122 games, having made 21 in just 80 games the previous year. That's significant progress. It doesn't mean Gregorius' defense is out of the woods just yet, but it's a good start.
At the plate, Gregorius is a line-drive hitter who offers little in the way of power or on-base ability, making him a below-average offensive player. He's never had more than 39 extra-base hits in a minor league season, although that season was this past year.
In order to be a valuable major leaguer, Gregorius will have to continue to solidify his defense, as it is his best way to contribute to value to whichever organization he eventually takes the field for.
If he heads to Cleveland, that likely spells the end of Asdrubal Cabrera's days with the Tribe. Gregorius is ready to step in and be the Indians starting shortstop as soon as this year, as long as they are willing to live with the bumps and bruises along the way.
Indians fans, or Reds fans for that matter, should not expect an all-star level performance from Gregorius. He's not going to be the centerpiece of the Indians next great team, but if he solidifies his defense, he can provide 2-3 win value primarily with his glove. If he can do that, he can be a piece of the Indians rebuilding project.