For the second consecutive offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers orchestrated a salary-motivated trade that helped them accomplish multiple goals.
This time, the club sent outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, catcher Kyle Farmer, pitcher Alex Wood and cash considerations to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the salary of Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
The blockbuster deal allowed the Dodgers to trim from their excess of starting pitching and outfielders, as well as create additional payroll flexibility for a potential pursuit of Bryce Harper or another top free agent.
What’s more, the Dodgers managed to improve their already-impressive farm system by adding well-regarded former first-round draft picks, Downs and Gray. The headliner being Downs, who was taken by the Reds with the 32nd overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft.
An anonymous National League scout offered high praise for the Dodgers’ newest prospect, deeming Downs a future All-Star, via Jon Heyman of Fancred:
One NL scout on new Dodger prospect: “Jeter Downs a stud….don’t care what he is ranked…future all-star.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 21, 2018
Downs spent the entire 2018 season with Single-A Dayton, batting .257 with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 47 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 120 games. Lauded for his athleticism, the 20-year-old saw time at both second base (73 games) and shortstop (43) for the Dragons.
While Downs is a prime candidate to slide into the organization’s top-10 prospects list for the 2019 season, further trades involving him can’t be ruled out either.
With the Dodgers linked to both Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber and Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, Downs could be of interest to either club as they contemplate parting ways with their respective All-Star.