In what is easily the biggest move of the Dodgers’ offseason, beloved outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig along with pitcher, Alex Wood and backup catcher Kyle Farmer were traded to the Reds in exchange for veteran pitcher, Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. The Reds will also receive $7 million.
The move has set the world on fire and for many reasons. First, the obvious: after a six-year tenure filled with antics and tongue wagging, Yasiel Puig was traded away. It had been a move planted firmly in the rumor mill and the Dodgers have pulled the trigger. Puig will reunite with his beloved hitting coach, Turner Ward in Cincinnati. The dynamic duo made headlines over the last few years when Puig would plant a kiss on Ward’s cheek after every home run he hit.
In addition to Puig, the Dodgers moved expensive outfielder, Matt Kemp to the Reds after the 33-year old spent just one season back in Los Angeles. Kemp was owed $21.5 million in 2019, money that washes with that of Homer Bailey’s.
The Dodgers did not stop there.
Along with the superstar outfielder, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer were also moved to the Reds. Wood has been one of the most heavily relied on pitchers on the Dodgers roster over the last three seasons. In 2017, Wood had a career year, finishing ninth in Cy Young voting and earning his first trip to an All-Star game. But, after the 28-year old saw some serious regression in 2018, trading the southpaw felt like a no-brainer as the team is loaded with pitching in both the bullpen and the rotation. Kyle Farmer, Wood’s teammate in both college and the Majors, was also a part of the deal. Over the last two seasons, Farmer has made just 97 plate appearances where he has hit a combined total of .250 with no home runs and 11 RBI’s.
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As for the return, the Dodgers will receive veteran arm Homer Bailey whose contract will wash some of what the Dodgers traded to the Reds. Bailey, who has not had an ERA+ over 100 since 2013 is not expected to wear a Dodger uniform at any point as he will be released by the Dodgers and put on the free agency chopping board.
The real intrigue in the return are the two prospects the Dodgers received, Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. Downs, a 20-year old middle infielder was a first-round pick in the 2017 draft. His highest level of play is in A-ball. Gray, who turns 21 today, was drafted in the second round of the draft in 2018 and pitched well in 12 starts in rookie ball last year.
The trade’s highlight is not necessarily the players in it but the players that the Dodgers can get because of it. Trading Puig and Kemp opens up both outfield space and salary cap to sign Bryce Harper, a move that was rumored to be connected to the Dodgers’ ability to trade Puig. It also gives the Dodgers the prospects to trade for either JT Realmuto or Corey Kluber, two players the Dodgers have been connected to over the last few weeks.
One thing is for sure, the move is unbelievable. Yasiel Puig will no longer be a Dodger and for the second time in three years, Matt Kemp has been traded away. But, as much as those two players will be missed, the move opens up a world of opportunities for a Dodger squad looking to make its third straight trip to the World Series.