The Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster trade on Friday. The Reds won the trade, and it wasn’t even close.
To all those who are curious as to who won Friday’s trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers, allow me to answer it very plainly. The Reds unequivocally won their recent trade with the Dodgers, and it’s not even close.
Often times, it may a year or two before one can make the assertion that a team won or lost a particular trade. When the Cincinnati Reds acquired Eugenio Suárez via trade with the Detroit Tigers, no one knew that Geno would eventually become the All-Star talent he is today. However, sometimes you can pick a winner from the word go, and this is one of those instances.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Homer Bailey, and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. Oh yeah, the Dodgers also sent $7 million to the Reds as well.
Let’s first look at the this trade financially. Puig and Wood are both arbitration eligible and are predicted to get $20.3M in combined salary. Matt Kemp is in the final year of a deal that will pay him $21.5M next season. Homer Bailey was slated to cost the Reds $23M next season, plus he had a $5M buyout for his 2020 option year.
The salaries of Farmer, Downs, and Gray are negligible, as they are all three pre-arb eligible. So, effectively the Reds took on $41.8M in salary, and the Dodgers absorbed all of Bailey’s $28M, so essentially the Reds added about $14M to their 2019 salary. Ah, but don’t forget about the extra $7M the Dodgers threw in.
So, technically the Reds shed an underperforming pitcher, whose attitude was worse than his pitching, and they also sacrificed two potential pieces that likely won’t be available until 2021 at the earliest. In return, Cincinnati got two sluggers, a starting pitcher, and a valuable utility player for less than $7M.
On the flip side, Los Angeles is expected to cut ties with Bailey very shortly and make him a free agent. So, in actuality, the Dodgers shipped away four players, acquired two prospects who haven’t yet played above A-ball, and will pay Homer Bailey $28M to go away. Really?
Now, this deal does save the Los Angeles Dodgers about $14M in luxury tax payroll next season, and it opens the door for LA to begin negotiating with this year’s prize free agent, Bryce Harper. We’ll see if Los Angeles can close the deal.
If you even want to take the financial implications of the deal a bit further, Cincinnati non-tendered Billy Hamilton last month. So, that $6-$7M that would’ve been owed to Billy had Cincinnati gone to arbitration with him can now be used to offset the salary remaining for the Reds’ newest additions.
Let’s look beyond the financials for a moment. What has Cincinnati been searching for all offseason? Starting pitching. Alex Wood started 27 games for the Dodgers last season, and he’s that left-handed starter this ball club needs. The Reds also got two outfielders to help fill the void left by Hamilton. It’s probably fair to assume, that right now, Scott Schebler is your starting centerfielder and Puig will play opposite Jesse Winker in one of the corner outfield spots.
If you look at what the Reds let go, you have to first see that ridding the team of Homer Bailey is a dream come true. There was no way the Reds could’ve trotted Homer out to the mound as a starter in 2019, and there was no way Homer would’ve come out of the bullpen. So, finding a way to send off both Bailey and his entire contract is a minor miracle.
While Jeter Downs is a talented middle-infielder, it’s a position where the Reds have a glut of talent. Beside starters José Peraza and Scooter Gennett, Nick Senzel, Jonathan India, Shed Long, Jose Israel Garcia, and Alfredo Rodriguez are all Top 20 prospects for the Reds who play either second base or shortstop.
To properly evaluate a trade, you usually have to give 2-3 years before you can call a trade a success or a failure. With mostly Major League talent being the focal point of this trade, it makes it a little easier to judge. The Cincinnati Reds won this trade, hands down!