Previously Discussed Moves
With all the big names and possibilities on the board, it is important to thoroughly look over every possible candidate, either through trade or free agency. The Reds have already acquired Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals, but are definitely not done.
Recently, they have talked about possibly signing Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin (who is now with the Nationals), A.J. Pollock, Sonny Gray and Marcus Stroman. These players have been connected with the Reds since the beginning of free agency, and all seem like a possibility, although some will be harder than others.
Over the last week, it has been rumored the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to trade veteran outfielder Yasiel Puig, and the Reds may be a possible trade target. This trade would make sense to the Reds, depending on how they want to deal with their outfield. In other words, if they can afford to bid higher than other teams on Pollock and if they believe Scott Schebler can play every day in center.
This move may instantly make some fans in Cincinnati upset, which is understandable given his reputation. At times Puig seems like a lazy or arrogant player and would not be good for the team or the city. He has shown flashes of those behaviors, but believing that is who he is as a player is simply not true.
What player is Puig? Puig is a six-year veteran, an All-Star, and has played in nearly every season for the Dodgers, who have won their division every season since he joined the team. When he entered the league as a 22-year old Cuban outfielder finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, second only to the late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Puig brings a sense of energy to teams and is loved by his teammates, a quality that is more valuable than one thinks. Not too mention, outside of his two-year mini-slump in 2015 and 2016, he has had an OPS above .820 each season, good for a career .831 OPS.
In each of the last two seasons, his power has begun to flourish in a pitchers park in Los Angeles, with 28 and 23 home runs, a number that will only improve if he moved to Cincinnati. Puig has always had power and drives the ball, and it is finally starting to show in the home run column. Not too mention, he has some speed as well, averaging 10 stolen bases a year.
If the Reds could put together a decent package, not even necessarily a great one, they could possibly land Dodgers lefty Alex Wood, as the Dodgers have mentioned possibly packaging them to a team.
In 2017, Wood became an All-Star for his first appearance, as well as finishing ninth in Cy Young voting. Wood finished the campaign with a 2.72 earned run average, with 151 strikeouts and 38 walks. He has a ground ball rate of 53% in 2017, which will fit in at Great American. The following season was not quite as good, but would still be an improvement.
Last season his ERA rose to 3.68, which would have finished as first on the team by a hefty margin. His groundball rate dropped to 48%, still above league average, and he had 16 fewer strikeouts as well, but again, this would be a big upgrade for the Reds. Outside of an injury-riddled 2016, Wood has been reliable and has thrown over 150 innings in three of his last four seasons.
Who Would Be Crazier?
Why would the Dodgers do this then? Both Puig and Wood will be unrestricted free agents following the 2019 season. Wood will make $6 million in 2019, while Puig will enter arbitration for his third and final time and is expected to make around $11 million. Before you think “why would the Reds take on that money for one-year of two players?” There is a catch.
If the Reds do make this trade, it will most likely require an above average prospect, an average prospect, and a major league player. Again, sounds crazy for the Reds to do, right? Well, it is rumored that the player the Reds would send back to the Dodgers, is none other than Homer Bailey. The Dodgers would also take on most, if not all, of Bailey’s contract, depending on the prospects the Reds would send.
This trade would mean the Reds are ready to compete this year. The Reds would have one of the better lineups in the National League with the addition of Puig and would be one step closer to filling out their rotation. Roark and Wood would not be the answer, but they would make them one starter away, rather than signing Pollock, a starter and potentially needing one more starter. It may be a crazy move, it may not.