Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood Traded to Reds in Blockbuster Move

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2018

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 06:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the fifth inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 6, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Dodgers 3-2.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers are parting ways with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.

In a blockbuster deal, the outfielders are heading to the Cincinnati Reds alongside pitcher Alex Wood and other assets in exchange for pitcher Homer Bailey and a package of players:

The money going to the Reds will be $7 million, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Despite the package of players returning in the deal, the Dodgers' motivations are likely directed elsewhere:

Harper to the Dodgers is hardly a guarantee, of course. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted: "After the trade, the Dodgers' luxury-tax payroll is going to be more than $180 million, including the money they're sending to Cincinnati. If they want to stay under, Harper isn't happening. If that's not a concern, it's a possibility."

Still, it's hard to see the trade as anything but a salary dump for the Dodgers:

Puig is the most intriguing player in the move. His name has circulated the rumor mill as a possible trade candidate for the past couple of seasons, but buzz seemingly died down last year as the Dodgers made their second straight run to the World Series thanks, in part, to his quality work at the plate.

However, that changed in early December when the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reported Puig was "disgruntled by how he was limited to playing against right-handers" and is now "described as distrustful of management and open to playing for another team."

Appearing in 125 games last season, Puig hit .267/.327/.494, including a lowly .209 versus left-handed pitching, with 23 home runs and 63 RBI.

He also tied a career high with 15 stolen bases, while his six defensive runs saved ranked fourth among right fielders behind Mookie Betts, Mitch Haniger and Kole Calhoun, according to FanGraphs.

Even if Puig doesn't produce up to those standards with the Reds, it's a fairly low-risk move. And in the event Puig exceeds expectations, the Reds could have the inside track on inking Puig to a long-term deal as he gets set to enter the prime of his career at 28 years old.

Kemp, meanwhile, had a solid 2018, hitting .290 with 21 homers and 85 RBI. At 34, however, he wasn't a part of the Dodgers' long-term plans, especially given the depth the team has in the outfield.

Wood, 27, appeared in 33 games (27 starts) for the Dodgers this past season, finishing 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 151.2 innings.

Bailey, 32, has pitched poorly in recent seasons. In his last four campaigns, he finished with an ERAs of 5.56, 6.65, 6.43 and 6.09, respectively, though injuries limited him to 46 starts in that time (and only eight in 2015 and 2016), clearly a factor in his declining performance.

          

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless noted otherwise. Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

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