Last winter, in a move that was widely unpopular, the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig to the Reds along with Kyle Farmer, Alex Wood, and Matt Kemp. The trade already looks like a good one for LA.
Last December, just four days before Christmas the Dodgers fired up the hot stove and shocked Dodger fans by trading Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds. Not only did the team deal Puig away, but they also dealt Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer, and Matt Kemp away in return for a bad contract in Homer Bailey, and two prospects.
The two prospects acquired in the trade were shortstop Jeter Downs and starting pitching prospect Josiah Gray. So far, the trade already looks like a big win for the Dodgers. The Reds already released Matt Kemp after a slow start while Alex Wood has yet to pitch in a game this season and is a pending free agent to be.
Yasiel Puig, despite doing damage against his former team this season, has struggled mightily. He has hit seven home runs this season but posted an OPS of just .621. Without his departure, the Dodgers also would not have been able to fit Alex Verdugo on their team after the addition of A.J. Pollock. The 2019 team was truly made better through addition by subtraction with the Yasiel Puig trade.
Kyle Farmer was the other player involved and he was never seen as a big league catcher by the Dodgers and therefore was not a fit on the roster. The two prospects received in the trade have also had strong starts to their seasons and rank inside the Dodgers’ top twenty prospects. Josiah Gray ranks 17th according to MLB.com but figures to rise quickly, and Jeter Downs ranks 7th, and could also rise a few spots this season.
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Both Downs and Gray are now with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes after Gray was promoted after dominating with the Loons, pitching to a 1.93 ERA in five starts. Although his first start in Rancho was a quick one, Josiah’s second start was much better as he pitched five innings allowing just two runs while striking out nine. Gray features a mid 90’s fastball and a sharp slider that at worst, should make him a dynamic reliever if he doesn’t make it as a mid-rotation starter.
Jeter Downs has played mostly shortstop for the Quakes and six home runs and eight stolen bases through 37 games. He is a very toolsy shortstop and gives the Dodgers another potential shortstop of the future when Corey Seager eventually shifts to third base. In his last ten games, Downs has caught fire hitting .395 with two home runs and ten RBI’s.
While the Puig trade could look even better in the future if Gray or Downs end up as impact players in the big leagues, the trade already looks like a solid win for LA. Alex Verdugo has emerged in the outfield showing why he has been a highly rated prospect for years. The Dodgers also have MVP candidate Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy in the lineup at the same time thanks to their addition by subtraction trade with the Reds.