The Dodgers traded outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, left-handed starter Alex Wood, and catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-hander Homer Bailey, — with his gargantuan contract attached — along with prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
This off-season, one of the team’s main focuses was staying under the luxury tax threshold for another year. They were able to do that because of this trade. Homer Bailey was owed a little over $22 million this season, Matt Kemp was owed $21.5 million, and Yasiel Puig was owed $9.7 million in his final season under contract. So, the Dodgers were able to save about $9.2 million with this trade and they got two prospects who certainly are worthwhile pieces.
Downs, 20, is currently playing for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and is doing fairly well. To go along with a 116 wRC+, Downs has hit 11 home runs and has stolen 16 bases in just 59 games. Downs was selected 32nd overall in the 2017 MLB Draft and is currently ranked as the Dodgers’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He should have an above-average glove and arm for second base or shortstop.
Gray, 21, is Downs’ teammate on the Quakes and is having a fantastic start to the 2019 season and could receive a promotion in short order. He has a 2.58 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 52 1/3 innings, so far. Opposing hitters are batting .155 against him this season as he continues to demonstrate real potential as a key member of the Dodgers’ farm system.
Bailey, a vet, is now pitching for the Kansas City Royals. He has a 5.37 ERA in 67 innings for them.
The Moving Parts
Let’s take a look at whether or not the trade has turned out to be one that is worthwhile:
Puig, arguably the most polarizing player in the game, has struggled mightily through the first two and a half months of the season.
Jeter Downs: .255/.323/.466, 123 wRC+, 12 SB as a 20 y/o in A+
Josiah Gray: 2.37 FIP, 29.5% K rate, 6.3% walk rate in A+
Yasiel Puig: .210/.257/.386, 62 wRC+, -.5 fWAR
Matt Kemp: released
Alex Wood: 60-day IL
Kyle Farmer: .224/.268/.461, 81 wRC+, .2 fWAR
— ? (@LifeOfABruin) June 5, 2019
In the final year of his deal, Puig has mustered just a 62 wRC+ and a gruesome -1.3 WAR.
Long-time Dodger Matt Kemp is on the downside of his career trajectory and when he was released by the Reds last month, it could mark the end of Kemp’s career as an outfielder, at least.
Kemp was picked up by the Mets and is currently playing Triple-A Syracuse, where he has a 52 wRC+. He had just a 22 wRC+ for the Reds across 62 plate appearances. Kemp could be on the verge of retirement.
Wood has yet to throw a pitch for the Cincinnati Reds this season as he remains sidelined with a back injury. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen as recently as June 9, but remains a long way away from a return.
Farmer has been the best of the bunch so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has been very good himself. Farmer has socked 5 home runs and posted a 78 wRC+ for the Reds in 86 plate appearances. He has been worth just 0.1 WAR.
This was an elite trade for the Dodgers, plain and simple. We traded fan favorites, but we got potential and salary cap relief, which is huge. Now, let’s hope Gray and Downs can continue to do their thing.