The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a seven-player trade with the Cincinnati Reds that clears up payroll and space on the roster to purse superstar free agent Bryce Harper.
The Reds are sending pitcher Homer Bailey and two minor league prospects — Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray — to the Dodgers. In exchange, the Dodgers will send Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer, Alex Wood, and $7 million in cash.
The Reds were able to unload the bloated $28 million contract of Homer Bailey, who went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA last season. The Dodgers are expected to cut Bailey as soon as the paperwork on the trade is complete.
Dodgers Get: P Homer Bailey, IF Jeter Downs, P Josiah Gray
Reds Get: OF Yasiel Puig, OF Matt Kemp, P Alex Wood, C Kyle Farmer
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the LA Dodgers are 6-1 odds to win the 2019 World Series. The Reds are 70-1 odds to win the World Series.
Clearing the Path for Harper
The trade with the Reds clears up space in the outfield and cap space to go after Bryce Harper. The Dodgers will save an estimated $17.5 million toward the luxury tax payroll.
The move is no sure-fire indication that Harper will sign with the Dodgers. However, it definitely shows the Dodgers’ willingness to make Harper the centerpiece of their lineup.
The Dodgers advanced to the World Series in consecutive years but lost both times. The Houston Astros came out on top in 2017, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games to win the 2018 World Series.
Homer Bailey, 27, made a name for himself. Twice. The flamethrower hurled a no-hitter in 2012 and tossed a second one in 2013. In February 2014, the Cincinnati Reds signed Bailey to a contract worth $105 million that has been dubbed one of the worst contracts of all time. His career had been going downhill ever since due to a multitude of injuries.
The Reds made Bailey their seventh overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. They plucked him right of of high school where he went 15-0 in his senior season at La Grange HS in Texas. He opted to play pro ball instead of playing in college.
Bailey struggled in the minor leagues, but finally got called up to the show in 2007. He finally showed some promised with 20 starts in 2009. By 2012, he joined the rotation full time. His two best seasons occurred in 2012 and 2013 before he blew out his arm. He missed most of 2014 with a dead arm. Then they found out he needed Tommy John surgery in 2015, which took much longer to recover than expected. Toss in elbow surgery to remove bone spurs in 2017, which irked fans even more.
Over his 11-season career with the Reds, Bailey went 67-77 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
Puig has always been a little weird, which is why he’s a fan favorite. Last season, Puig hit .267 with 23 HR and 63 RBI. In 712 games with the Dodgers, Puig hit 108 HR and drove in 331 RBI.
Puig will be reunited with his former hitting coach, Turner Ward. Last season, Ward left the Dodgers and became the Reds hitting coach.
“Puig is going to bring some excitement to the club and the Cincinnati fans are going to really appreciate him,” said Ward. “He’s going to give it all he’s got. I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago, he’s so pumped and fired up about coming. Matt Kemp, again, he was an All-Star, he’s an impact bat.”
Puig might be in his walk year, but he’ll be playing in a hitter-friendly park. He has the opportunity to juice his stats a little. At the same time, he might like playing in Cincinnati and will stick around.
The Dodgers traded Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres in 2014. The Padres traded him back last season. Kemp showed he still had some gas left in the tank and hit .290 with 21 home runs and 80 RBI. Kemp also made the All-Star Team.
The Dodgers have been busy since they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. They extended the contract of manger Dave Roberts for four years. In addition, Clayton Kershaw also signed a three-year extension with the Dodgers worth $93 million.