The Indians have traded right-handed starter Trevor Bauer to the Reds as part of a three-team deal that also involves the Padres, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN.com. The Indians are receiving a large contingent in return, according to Passan, led by outfielder Yasiel Puig (from the Reds) and outfielder Franmil Reyes and pitching prospect Logan Allen (from the Padres). San Diego is getting outfielder Taylor Trammell from Cincinnati.
Here are the details of the trade, which could still include more players:
Prospects guru Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com added that left-handed pitcher Scott Moss is also going to the Indians.
The second major blockbuster of the 2019 trade deadline has a lot of moving parts, so let’s sort this out from the perspective of each of the three teams.
Bauer was a Cy Young contender last season, but otherwise has been pretty inconsistent. He’s made it clear he wasn’t going to re-sign with the Indians when he hit free agency after next season and they have rotation depth. It’s possiblewasn’t taken too kindly by the organization, either.
As things stand, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and a returning Danny Salazar (he’ll make his 2019 debut on Thursday after a long road back from injury) as their four members of the rotation. Adam Plutko has made some starts so he’ll likely hold down the fifth spot until Corey Kluber comes back (which could be the middle of August). This still has the makings of a good rotation.
Allen, 22, is a top-100 prospect and figures to get a shot in the rotation in future years (Kluber has club options for 2020 and 2021 and they might not pick both up). Allen has a 5.15 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings in Triple-A, but that’s the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously hitter-friendly and, in fact, the league ERA is 5.51, so Allen’s been good despite the number looking ugly. He was roughed up in his MLB stint, but he’s a 22-year-old rookie.
Moss, 24, has a 3.44 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 102 innings in 20 Double-A starts this season. He’s a depth play.
As for the offensive side, the Indians came into Tuesday night rankings 10th in the AL in runs and ninth in slugging percentage. Enter Reyes and Puig. Reyes has 27 homers with a .536 slugging percentage. Puig has 22 homers and a .475 slugging mark.
Reyes immediately gives the Indians a very good everyday designated hitter, as he’s certainly an upgrade over Jake Bauers. If they are so inclined, Puig could serve as a platoon-mate to lefty-swinging Tyler Naquin in right field.
Trammell is a top-20 prospect per MLB.com, but he’s having a rough season (.236/.350/.338) and apparently the Reds wanted Bauer enough to part with him (and two months of Puig, who hits free agency after this season). They are definitely gambling big here on Bauer helping them make the playoffs next season and Trammell not blossoming into a star.
Maybe Bauer just needs a change of scenery? He had a 2.21 ERA last season and finished sixth in Cy Young voting despite missing the last month with an injury. He leads the majors in innings pitched right now. The Reds could play themselves into contention next season — they were contending not long ago this year — and they’re losing Alex Wood and Tanner Roark in free agency, in all likelihood. Bauer returning to form along with Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray would give the Reds are very good 1-2-3 in the rotation.
Reyes is very good and fun to watch … when he’s batting. He’s a negative on the defensive side and that’s likely what the Padres were thinking on shipping him out. They have lots of young pitching and pitching prospects, so it’s possible they didn’t figure Allen would figure in their future rotation plans, especially if they acquire veteran pitching either via trade or in free agency in the offseason, which would be advisable.
In Trammell, they are looking to the future and dreaming on his upside. As noted, he’s having a rough year, but he’s only 21. The hits left-handed and could profile as a top-of-the-order guy down the road in front of the likes of Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado. In 393 career minor-league games, he’s stolen 107 bases and hit 23 triples. He’s good at drawing walks; take note of the .350 on-base percentage in spite of the low average.
The word on Trammell is he doesn’t have five-tool star potential due to his arm, but the other four tools are in star territory with above-average power and excellent speed. MLB.com ranked him as the 16th-best prospect in baseball heading into the season.
Again, the Padres are dreaming on upside and tools, but it’s worth the gamble. The best versions of Trammell, Tatis and Machado as a 1-2-3 looks like the start of a playoff-caliber lineup.