This trade is a big deal, for a couple of reasons. First off, the Dodgers are trying to free up cap space for an even bigger move (*cough cough* Bryce Harper). Not only did the Dodgers clear room financially, but they also created some room in the outfield which makes Bryce Harper a much more realistic option for them now. The Dodgers still have a number of options for their outfield, but now with Puig and Kemp out of the picture, they have Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, and Andrew Toles that could man the outfield in Los Angeles. In my opinion, the Dodgers could realistically sign Bryce Harper AND trade for either Corey Kluber or J.T. Realmuto by including Alex Verdugo in a potential deal. Even if the Dodgers aren’t able to land Harper though, they could still go after a free agent outfielder like A.J. Pollock and then still pursue Kluber or Realmuto via trade.
Another reason that I thought this trade was such a big deal is because it shows that the Reds are actually trying to be competitive in 2019. I know that they still have A LOT of work to do with their pitching staff if they are going to compete for a playoff spot, but after this trade, they now have a pretty strong lineup for the first time in a while. The Reds lineup will now include: Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, Matt Kemp, and Yasiel Puig. That’s a really solid group of guys to have in the lineup every day. Not only did the Reds acquire Kemp, Puig, Alex Wood, catcher Kyle Farmer, and $7M from the Dodgers, but they gave up Homer Bailey in the deal. This is significant because Bailey had not been pitching up to the 6-year, $105M contract he signed with the Reds a few years back. Bailey had a 6.09 ERA last year, and he is owed $23M in 2019, so it was great for the Reds to be able to get that contract off the books. My immediate thought on this deal after the details came out was that the Reds won this trade. They got some quality players in return for a bad contract and a couple of prospects. Not only this, but the Reds will be able to give Puig and Wood qualifying offers next offseason and if they decline, the Reds can get compensation picks in return. Even though I think the Reds got the better end of this trade, I think it could end up being a good trade for the Dodgers if they turn around and make moves for guys like Harper, Kluber, Realmuto, or Pollock.
Let the “Harper to the Dodgers” hype begin.