The Los Angeles Dodgers were rumored to be involved in a multitude of different trade fronts this winter, and on Friday they struck on their first big deal of the offseason.
Los Angeles traded four Major League players in Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for veteran pitcher Homer Bailer and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. The Dodgers also reportedly sent $7 million in cash to the Reds.
While on the surface the Dodgers are losing four players that have helped them win a lot of games and six National League West titles over the years, they are clearing up both roster spots and payroll.
They are also getting two solid prospects in the deal that they can either use for other trades to acquire a star like Corey Kluber or J.T. Realmuto, or keep to help replenish their farm system.
The wild card of the deal is Bailey, who is owed $23 million in 2019 with a $5 million buyout at the end of the year. Bailey was one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball in 2018, and according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers have no plans of keeping him despite acquiring him:
Bailey, owed $25M, expected to be released by #Dodgers after trade. Deal will still benefit LAD from a luxury-tax perspective. Puig projected to earn $11.3M in arbitration and Wood $9M, per @MLBTradeRumors, and Kemp still owed significant sum (unclear what exact number is).
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018
Bailey went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA, 5.55 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 20 starts in 2018 while striking out 75 and walking 33 in 106.1 innings. While he has been a productive pitcher in the past, he has largely struggled since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2016, so it comes as no surprise that the Dodgers plan to release him.
What the Dodgers do from here remains to be seen, but they now have the payroll flexibility and roster space to add some high-impact players.
This may be Andrew Friedman’s first big move of the winter, but it certainly isn’t looking like it will be his last.