The Los Angeles Dodgers are continuing to make moves before the end of 2018. The team will be trading away starting pitcher Alex Wood and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. Los Angeles’ President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, was able to acquire right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey along with other prospects, including infielder Jeter Downs, right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray and catcher/ infielder Kyle Farmer. The Dodgers will also send $7 million in cash considerations to the Reds. The move significantly opens up salary cap space and allows Los Angeles to position themselves to make a bigger splash in free agency moves and acquisitions.
Trading away their two most expensive outfielders, Kemp and Puig, the Dodgers clear enough room for their suspected move to pursue free agent Bryce Harper, along with other suitable players. Los Angeles is reportedly trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold, but trying to pick Harper would not fit into that mindset, since the free agent will probably demand a contract upwards of $300 million for 10 years. If the Dodgers decide they want to go elsewhere, A.J. Pollack, the former Arizona Diamondbacks centerfielder, will be a suitable fit as well. Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto could also be a viable addition to the Dodgers lineup, as well.
It’s bittersweet for Dodgers fans who endured a “frustrating” relationship with Puig during his time in Los Angeles. He fell out of favor with the organization in 2016 after not living up to the hype with the promising flashes he showed as a rookie. Picking his game back up over the last two years, Puig was able to figure out a way to be a productive staple in the Dodgers lineup. Despite Puig’s departure, Los Angeles still has Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Andrew Toles who can all play in the outfield.
There is no telling what Los Angeles’ next move is, since the Dodgers made two very aggressive moves this in the last two weeks: picking up former Boston Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly last week, and now this seven-player trade. The rest of the league will just have to wait and see what’s next for the defending National League Champs.