Posted on July 30, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine

Cleveland Indians Trevor Bauer
Image via si.com

On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, a blockbuster trade involving only one true contender has started the deadline day festivities a little early. The Cincinnati Reds have received the biggest piece of the trade, acquiring starter Trevor Bauer from the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres have acquired outfielder Taylor Trammel, the top prospect in Cincinnati’s farm system. Finally, the Indians are receiving outfielder Yasiel Puig and pitching prospect Scott Moss from the Reds, as well as outfielder Franmil Reyes, pitching prospect Logan Allen, and minor league infielder Victor Nova from the Padres.

For the Reds, the acquisition of Bauer is a curious one. Cincinnati is on the fringes of the playoff picture and appears to be closer to a seller than a buyer. However, with Bauer having one more year of arbitration, they view him as someone who can help lead their rotation in 2020. With the emergence of Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray and Anthony DeSclafani also being under contract beyond this season, Cincinnati’s rotation looks quite formidable moving forward.

Meanwhile, the Indians gave up Bauer despite being in the middle of a playoff race. However, they acquired pieces that will be able to help. Reyes has had a breakout season, hitting .255 with an OPS of .849, which has been helped along by 27 home runs. Puig is also having a solid season, hitting .252 with an OPS of .777. Both should provide immediate help to a Cleveland lineup that has struggled all season.

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Obviously, giving up Bauer is a risky move for a team that trails in the AL Central but leads the American League Wild Card race. Bauer has helped hold together a rotation that’s been hurt by injuries. But the Indians have received strong performances from young pitchers like Shane Bieber. They also expect the likes of Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco to return later this season. In that sense, they may be able to survive without Bauer.

In addition to improving their lineup, the Indians also get younger with an eye toward the future. While Puig is a free agent after this season, Reyes is under team control through 2024, so he is a long-term asset. Allen is San Diego’s no. 7 prospect, according to MLB.com, and has big league experience. Moss is Cincinnati’s no. 12 ranked prospect, according to MLB.com. He’s currently at double-A and adds some much-needed depth to Cleveland’s farm system.

As for the Padres, they solve the problem of an overcrowded outfield by trading Reyes. Trading him frees up the corner outfield spots for Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe rather than having three players for two spots. They also add Trammel, who is one of the top outfield prospects in baseball.

It will take a little while until we know which of the three teams in this trade benefits the most from it. However, the fate of Cleveland’s season could be dictated by this trade. While they added some long-term pieces, trading Bauer is a bold choice, even if it means improving their offense. The Reds also took a chance by acquiring Bauer for just a season and a half. Finally, the Padres traded away three players to acquire one prospect, so it’ll take a few years until learn if they were winners or losers from this deal. In short, all three teams are going out on a limb, hoping that this trade will pay off in the end.

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