While the Los Angeles Dodgers only made a couple of minor moves on the day of the MLB trade deadline, two of the franchise’s former notable players did change teams during the trading frenzy.
Yasiel Puig was dealt from the Cincinnati Reds to the Cleveland Indians in a three-team blockbuster that included the San Diego Padres, while Zack Greinke was shockingly traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Houston Astros minutes before 1 p.m. PT.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did got get a chance to coach Greinke, as he departed for the Diamondbacks in free agency during the same winter that Roberts was named to his current position.
However, Roberts did manage Puig during the last half of the mercurial outfielder’s six seasons with the Dodgers.
While the Reds are faltering in fourth place of the National League Central, the Indians are atop the American League Wild Card standings and just behind the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead.
Thus, Puig will likely find himself in the postseason again and, if the Indians make it that far, a possible World Series battle against his old team.
Roberts is enthusiastic about the possibility of Puig returning to Dodger Stadium as an opponent on the baseball’s biggest stage, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“I would love to see Yasiel Puig in October,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with a grin before Wednesday’s 5-1 win at Colorado. “That would be great. If that were to happen, I’m sure Dodgers fans would welcome him with open arms.”
The two have traded some mild barbs in the media since Puig was traded to the Reds in the offseason.
Puig questioned Roberts’ controversial strategy to remove Rich Hill in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, while the Dodgers’ skipper expressed disappointment in some of Puig’s comments about his time with the team.
While the Dodgers remain comfortably in the lead for best record in the NL, the Indians will face an uphill battle to return to the World Series for the first time since 2016.
Most notably, an Astros team that now sports a potential playoff rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Greinke and Wade Miley now appear to be the favorites for the AL pennant. Houston defeated Cleveland in the AL Division Series in 2018, handing the Indians their second ALDS loss in as many years.
However, Puig and Franmil Reyes, who both wound up in Cleveland in a three-team deal that sent Indians All-Star Trevor Bauer to the Reds, should provide some badly-needed instant offense for a struggling Cleveland outfield.
Whether they will be enough to affect October remains to be seen.