Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: Examining Potential Phillips/Bailey for Kemp Deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers smiles from the dugout as the Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 7, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Kemp is on the disabled list due to an ankle injury. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Tyler GroteCorrespondent IIDecember 13, 2013

If anyone is following @SeeHearTell on Twitter, a self-proclaimed anonymous source assumed to be in Walt Jocketty's inner circle, then it's possible you're cautiously floating on cloud nine. The anonymous source tweeted at 8 p.m. Thursday evening: 

 

#Reds have reached agreement w/ #Dodgers Brandon Phillips & Homer Bailey have been traded to LAD CIN will receive Matt Kemp

— Seeall Hearall (@SeeHearTell) December 13, 2013

 

First, it's probably wise to go ahead and assume this is fake. This article isn't going to pretend like it's authentic. Rather, the goal is to realistically assess the potential consequences for this move. A transaction of this magnitude is enormous, and has potential for both risk and rewards.

Matt Kemp is owed $21 million next season. If that somehow reads trivial, he's owed $21.5 million every year until he's a free agent in 2020. Homer Bailey, based on MLBTradeRumors projections, will command around $9 million or so after arbitration. So if you factor in the $10-$11 million Brandon Phillips will command moving forward, the salary swap almost evens out, and it's not far-fetched to believe a budgetless Dodgers team wouldn't eat some salary. 

So the money works for the immediate future. But does it make sense?

Losing Homer Bailey would be a real impact on a rotation he helped finish with the No. 3 ERA in baseball. A 3.49 is good anywhere, but at a park built for hitters, it's far more notable. Assuming the Reds don't bring back Bronson, who they're reportedly still talking to, how do they replace the production of both? Cingrani fills one void. The other?

Matt Kemp also hasn't played a whole season since 2011. He played in 73 games last year and finished with just 283 at-bats. Multiple reports say that the All-Star may not even be ready for the start of the 2014 season, since he had surgery on his shoulder and ankle this year. 

Some will see this as a red flag. Others may see it as leverage for the Reds.

It's a short-term deal for certain. An injury-prone Matt Kemp would still offer the Reds a better lineup than with Phillips in it, but the ramifications on the rotation could be significant. If Bailey's production can't be replaced and Matt Kemp can't stay healthy, it has the potential to cripple 2014 and beyond. 

Of course, if Matt Kemp were to return to his 2011 form, the same Matt Kemp that finished second in MVP voting, then enjoy your time spent daydreaming about a lineup that sends Votto, Kemp, Bruce and Ludwick in succession. 

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