The Cincinnati Reds made a few trades in the offseason prior to the 2019 campaign. Some of them worked out a little bit differently than others. Today we are going to take a look back at the first one that happened – the trade between the Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Who was in the trade?

The Cincinnati Reds received: Kyle Farmer, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and cash.

The Los Angeles Dodgers received: Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs, and Josiah Gray.

This trade had several parts to it. Homer Bailey and Matt Kemp were basically just contracts that were traded for each other to balance out the budgets. Bailey was immediately released and went on to sign with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to Oakland and helping the Athletics reach the playoffs. The Reds probably had some hope that Kemp could help them out in some role on the field, but it didn’t work out and he was released five weeks into the season.

The other part of the trade was Cincinnati sending two prospects, Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray for the Dodgers group of Kyle Farmer, Alex Wood, and Yasiel Puig.

The thought process behind the trade

For Cincinnati the deal was made to strengthen, in a big way, the team for 2019. Yasiel Puig projected to be a well above-average hitter that could be somewhere in the middle of their lineup. Alex Wood projected to be a guy who could match up with just about any pitcher in the league. Kyle Farmer was a toss-in that had a little bit of upside as a utility player who could also catch.

For the Dodgers it was pretty simple: They had other options that they felt were just as good as the ones they were sending away. Make the trade and try to get players to help in the future, all while not feeling like you’re harming the team today.

How the trade turned out

Depending on the kind of person you are, you’re going to judge a trade very differently than someone else. Me? I’m a guy who will not say this was a bad trade. It’s a trade that I would make 100 times out of 100. But it’s also a trade that didn’t work out for the Reds. Both of those things can be true.

Yasiel Puig failed to be anything remotely close to the guy he had been in the past, or was expected or projected to be. His 95 OPS+ with Cincinnati was the worst of his career. He was eventually traded as part of the Trevor Bauer deal, though he was more of a toss in than the main piece in that deal.

Alex Wood missed most of the season. With pitchers there’s always that risk. But in what feels like “well, that’s the Reds luck, again….”, Wood’s injury wasn’t even the kind that typically takes pitchers off of the mound. His injury was with his back, and it just didn’t get right. When he was finally healthy enough to take the mound, long after the season had already been over for all intents and purposes, he struggled to perform. And then he missed the final month of the year, too. His ERA over his handful of innings was 2.51 runs higher than his career average was coming into the year.

For the Reds, they were looking to get quality, above-average production from both Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood in 2019. They didn’t. And really, it wasn’t all that close. The idea behind the trade was great. The results of the trade were terrible.

For the Dodgers, they didn’t have a whole lot to lose in the deal. But even then it worked out well for them because both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray improved during the year. While we are going to have to wait a while to ultimately see how their careers turn out, the fact is both are more valuable today, by a decent amount, than they were the day that the trade went down.

You can make informed decisions and still have the results not work out. Both teams in this trade made, what I believe were good decisions for their organizations. For the Reds it simply didn’t work out in the end. For the Dodgers it has.

The two prospects that were traded away would most certainly rank inside the Reds Top 10 prospect list. Neither would be the top prospect at their position, though. That’s less of an issue with Josiah Gray, who has a much larger set of roster spots he could eventually take because he is a pitcher. Downs, if you would prefer to call him a second baseman, would top that position – but may not exactly have a spot open in the Majors in Cincinnati if he had stuck around for a while depending on what happens with Nick Senzel in the long run. At shortstop, he’d still be behind Jose Garcia.

Of course, that’s only a part of the equation. The two players, even if blocked long term would still have trade value. And that is worth plenty because as we saw, you can use that to try and fill other areas in the organization. The Reds came out on the losing end of this trade, even if it was one that made a lot of sense to make at the time.

92 Responses

  1. Andy

    One part of Reds offseason plan that did work, was getting more pitching than they needed assuming someone would be hurt and/ or ineffective. Wood was part of that. This trade looks bad because Wood got hurt, but it could just as easily been Disco or Gray missing the season with injury. (Frankly, I’ve come to expect pitchers to miss one of every 3 years with injury.)

    The Puig part of this trade, and the decline of Votto, left a massive hole in middle of the lineup that prevented the Reds from contending for playoffs. The pitching part of offseason I consider a success.

  2. earmbrister

    I still remember the day that this trade went down. It was day’s end, and I needed to get out the door, but how could I with a trade of this magnitude just hitting the press? I was psyched to get Woods (particularly) and Puig for Homer and a couple of prospects, though I really liked Gray.

    I envisioned an extension for Woods: get him in the door and then re-signed. Possibly the same for Puig, but I was all about “getting the pitching”, after enduring years of pitching futility from the Reds.

    I agree Doug, that this trade made sense at the time, though it ultimately did not work out for the Reds. Also +1 for Andy: throw a lot of pitching at the wall, and see what sticks. The Reds bought low on Sonny Gray, and I’m buying low on Bauer. I’ve always been a Disco fan, and have plenty of company in believing in Castillo. I LOVE that the Reds potential rotation is:

    Castillo
    Gray
    Bauer
    Disco
    Mahle (gonna turn the corner in ’20)

    SO WEIRD that now, a year later, we need to GET THE BATS.

    Ironic, don’t you think?

  3. AirborneJayJay

    This was a bad trade from the moment it was conceived. I respect your position on this but disagree about the sendibility of it. The Reds fatal flaw last winter, besided this trade, was to focus entirely on one year left of contract control players. Luckily they got an extension with Gray. Wood was a tremendous disappointment along with Puig. I had been hopeful that Wood could help anchor the rotation. The situation with Wood most likely triggered the trade for Bauer. Another 1 year player, plus 2 months.
    I hope they drop this desire for 1 year players this winter. Unless they are certain on an extension.

    • Bill

      I’m not sure the Reds were “focused” on acquiring players with one year left of their contracts, but that is where they found teams willing to trade. I’m not sure I follow your logic on how Wood’s injury led to the Bauer trade. Multiple reports tied the Reds and Indians in discussions that would have brought Kluber or Bauer to the Reds last off season. Perhaps the Indians finally dropped their price to what the Reds were willing to pay?

      • Alex Whitehead

        The Reds are and continue to be a conundrum where the focus of the org seems to change on an almost daily basis. This trade was flawed from the start because what was the original point of bringing in a bunch of 1 year players to a flawed roster that wasn’t going to compete?

        Also, I feel like we will have the exact same article, just insert Trevor Bauer, next off season. “The idea was great but it just went terrible for the reds.” Well, when is it that the idea was just not that good? The Indians were enthusiastically trying to trade him despite being in the playoff hunt.

        And now, the reds have finally seemed to settle on the fact that their only path to compete is developing their own players. Except, they spent the last year trading away prospects for one year rentals, none of whom have panned out at all…… but they were all still great moves. Sigh.

      • Cguy

        To me, the hallmark of the Reds 2019 campaign is that they decided that they could not develop their own starting pitching and acquired 4 possibly 5 established ML sp (Roark, Wood, Gray, Bauer, & Gausman). By doing so, they improved their team ERA more than any other ML team in the last year. They’re within 1 or 2 arms of having a top 5 pitching staff in 2020. At a relatively modest price.

  4. Hanawi

    LOL at making it 100 times out of a 100. I thought it was a terrible trade at the time and it looks even worse in retrospect. I don’t know how any Reds fan or baseball analyst can even defend it, especially for a small market team like the Reds. They weren’t going to contend with the players they got from the Dodgers, especially since none of them were even in the plans for them. The window has always been farther out than 2019. Attempting to get to .500 for one year at the future cost of Downs and Gray was incredibly short-sighted.

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds plan didn’t work. But it made sense. There was no way you could project Wood missing 5 months, Scooter Gennett missing 3 months, or Yasiel Puig not performing. If those guys went out and performed as everyone thought they would, that’s an enormous addition versus what actually happened in 2019.

      The idea that had that happened, the Reds wouldn’t have been able to compete is certainly a take, I guess. But flip out Alex Wood and say a 3.75 ERA instead of Tyler Mahle and a 5+ ERA, add well above-average offense of Yasiel Puig for 400 plate appearances instead of below-average offense of Yasiel Puig for 400 plate appearances, add in Scooter Gennett in the offense instead of Jose Peraza for another 200 plate appearances…. that’s a huge swing in value.

      It didn’t work out that way. But to sit around and say that plan was dumb…. well, as I said, that’s a take someone could have I guess.

      As for “the future”. If you’re always building for it it’ll never get here. At some point you need to try and win now. Jeter Downs is and was replaceable. Josiah Gray was the guy viewed as having upside, but also being the furthest away among the upside arms. You’ve been brainwashed into the idea that building through the farm system is literally the only available option to a team like the Reds. It’s not.

      • PUSHERMAN

        Doug, you have no clue. You are lucky you have gotten this far. Get ready to be challenged.

      • Schottzie

        The issue with the trade is that it was fairly easy to envision exactly what occurred. I’m based in LA so follow the Dodgers closely—Wood is injury prone and was not a pivotal part of their plan. Puig is an emotional, excitable player who feeds off attention, which is something he didn’t receive much of playing in front of 20k people a night. The Reds have some smart people, but what I believe your overall analysis is missing is that the Reds continue to make trades as if they need to or to “signal” they are to be taken seriously…not to get them closer to building a championship franchise (note they say they just want to play in the postseason…not win a championship; they’ve set that bar relatively low). Other teams are feeding off of this anxiety and fleecing them (Chapman trade was different circumstance but same issue, The dodgers trade, possibly the Bauer trade) I’d have to think Gutierrez and Siri could have gotten this Dodger deal done if the Reds hadn’t put the pressure on themselves to make a bunch of moves when it was clear this year wasn’t going to be any good for them. But the Reds seemingly caved when they didn’t have to while the Dodgers walked away richer because they had nothing to lose as Puig and Wood weren’t part of their 2019 plan and they wanted to get rid of them, anyway. The Reds are acting out of a sense of urgency that usually doesn’t encourage good deals, and I believe this one was a side effect of it.

      • Hanawi

        It’s the only way the Reds do business. They don’t participate in free agency. They don’t sign international players. As one who writes about the Reds, that’s pretty obvious. If you’re only going to build through drafts and trades, you have to be really, really good at it. And frankly, the Reds are not as good as the Dodgers and got completely fleeced.

        And, I’m sorry, but it’s pretty easy to envision Wood missing a bunch of time. It’s basically happened every year of his career. And Puig taking a step back when not surrounded by the Dodgers talent in the lineup? Yeah, pretty easy to imagine. He was their #6 hitter and someone who was losing playing time as it was. Imagining him as an MVP candidate anchoring the middle of a lineup was just a Reds fever dream that had no basis in reality.

      • MBS

        @Hanawi, the Reds do sign international players. Chapman, Iglesias, J. Garcia, and A. Rodriguez are the most notable. The spending they did on those last 2 is what kept them (by Rule) from signing international players over a certain price tag the last couple of seasons.

        The trade made sense. They signed 4 Major League ready players for roughly 5 million and 2 good, not great prospects. Let’s wait on the HOF induction on Downs and Gray. Countless higher pedigree players have failed to make an impact on a Major League team.

    • Stock

      Agree with Hanawi 100%. The last sentence says it all. You can’t dispute that Doug because you predicted about a 500 finish.

      Now for Doug’s comments:

      Yasiel Puig not performing. he hit 23 HR with 63 RBI for the entire 2018 year. In half a season this year he hit 20 HR with 51 RBI. His .257 BA was 10 points lower than normal but that is due to his BABIP being vastly lower than career levels.

      Scooter did miss 3 months but Dietrich was pretty good in the first half. 18 HR and 40 RBI in limited playing time.

      Peraza going to the pine if Scooter is healthy. Sorry but Peraza was the starting SS going into the season. If Scooter is healthy Iglesias and Dietrich lose AB not Peraza so replacing Peraza’s stats with potential Scooter stats is misleading.

      You can create a today without trading away the future. Look at the small market Rays.

      In 2018 they acquired Pham and Meadows for the outfield in trades. They acquired Glasnow, Poche and Pagan for the pitching staff. These 5 players cost the Rays Chris Archer, Jake Bauers and minor league filler. They then filled out their roster with cheap FA in Charlie Morton and Avisail Garcia. They are still playing baseball.

      The Rays have made the playoffs 5 times in the last 12 years because they continue to trade players after 4 years (Delmon Young, Garza and Archer). The Rays traded Young for Garza, Garza for Archer and Archer for Meadows and Glasnow)

  5. PUSHERMAN

    Lol Doug knows about much about baseball as my 4th grade substitute math teacher. She was probably the better athlete.
    The trade was a failure from the moment it was made. Unless the Reds were ready to compete right then it was counterintuitive.
    Anybody who knows baseball, which Doug does not, knew where this was going.
    They attempted to short the rebuild and Fed everything up in the process.
    Now Doug would agree if he ever hit anything over 85 mph but he hasn’t, he has no clue.

      • jbonireland

        Doug, unfortunately when the Reds shut down the blog that was on their official website many of the malcontents and never righters have moved to this sight. The reason I came over here was to get away with them. The names may be different but it is the same people, you can tell by their writeing.

      • Oldtimer

        I have a P/T day job in the insurance industry. It pays enough so that I can read about Reds and other sports teams on the Internet.

        Nothing wrong with either.

      • Doug Gray

        There’s definitely nothing wrong with the insurance industry. It just happens that poster actually works in that industry, so I told him to stick to it.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Hey Doug, you would do better if you didn’t make smart aleck comments to your customers. You need to be the mature one in every conversation. Defend your position but don’t trash your customers.
        And I also think it was an iffy trade at best.

      • Doug Gray

        Yeah, I’m not going to sit around and just let someone talk to me like that. He’s not my customer. He’s some jerk who came here to be a jerk. And I kicked him out of the store.

    • Bigbill

      Betting you never played as well Pusherman. If you had your teammates would have slapped the arrogant condescending comments out of your teeth. From someone who did play at a college level it is pretty obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

  6. Don

    Good article and I agree with the assessment that the trade at the time was the right move. If every plan every team makes worked as expected, the result would that every team would be undefeated every year.
    That is not possible.

    Reality is you make a decision at that time and live with the results and hopefully learn from those results.

    • Cguy

      I agree. A case in point is the Duvall to Atlanta deal of July 30, 2018. Almost unanimously considered a win for the Reds at the time. Now Tucker & Wisler gone, & although Sims had a decent year, has no option for next year & may not make the active roster. Duvall on the other hand had a good season at AAA, called up & contributed in August & September, & made the Braves playoff roster. Who’d have figured?

  7. D-dawg

    Very insightful article Doug. I too think it was a trade that made sense for the Reds to make. It simply did not pan out for the Reds. Hopefully the results of this one trade will not make the Reds FO be afraid of making moves that are based on sound analytics in the future.

  8. Norwood Nate

    Overall I liked the trade at the time. It was hard to part with Downs and Gray, but I did think Wood and Puig were going to be big upgrades. The upside was that Puig and Wood could be flipped at the deadline or offered the QO to recoup some prospect value we lost. Unfortunately neither realized their upside due to their down performance/health. The downside I saw in the trade at the time was that it only impacted 2019 while also taking away from the future. I just didn’t believe the Reds were that close to competing. In fact, I believe I said on more than one occasion they would battle the Pirates for 4th place in the division. That turned out to be true.

    It was a risk to bet so heavily on 2019 and that came back to bite the Reds.

    • Stock

      Again, Puig hit 23 HR with 63 RBI in 2018 and had 20 HR with 51 RBI at the all-star break. Maybe the performance of Puig was not the disappointment but your excpectations were out of line because Puig was everything in 2019 that he was in 2016-2018 where he averaged 21 HR a year.

  9. Colorado Red

    Overall, I liked the trade when it happened.
    I was thinking a QO on Puig and Wood.
    Sometimes things work out, and sometimes bad.
    The Sonny trade was great.
    The Tanner trade of a wash.
    The Trevor trade may be a disaster. But you cannot blast the trade just because is did not work out.

  10. MikeinSoCal

    I was ok with the trade. I actually thought Kemp would be a main player in the deal. I always liked Wood but I didn’t know he came with a bad back. I thought Puig would fit in to GABP. And Farmer was a good backup catcher with versatility. The fact that they were rentals was a concern but my thoughts were the Reds were going for it in 2019, a wild card spot at least. Now if Votto and Gennett had produced as expected and Wood been healthy maybe the Reds would have made a wild card run. Things fell apart. The failures of Hughes, Hernandez, and Iglesias in the BP didn’t help matters. A lot of Reds players did not have their typical success. The “trade” is now the scapegoat.

  11. Scott C

    There seems to be a lot of folks that knew this was a bad trade when it was made. Those folks need to go out and get jobs in MLB front offices. I am sure that most FO’s would like to have them and their infallible crystal balls. The truth is no one can predict a trade to be good or bad until after all the cards have been played. No one could have foreseen Wood being out all year with back issues. No one could have foreseen Puig not heating up until July. Ok yes almost everyone knew Kemp was washed up but that part was a wash with dumping Bailey’s salad. And Gray and Downs well we don’t know yet.
    I was kind of lukewarm to the trade when it was made but the greatest rewards are made when taking the greatest risks.
    Another good and insightful article Doug.

    • Dollar Bill

      Tanner Rainey and his 100 MPH heater pitching in the post season right now.

      Another bad trade by the inept FO.

      Then there was Shed Long and Taylor Trammell. Time will tell. LMAO

      • Doug Gray

        Are you really complaining about trading Shed Long for Sonny Gray?

    • Stock

      Go back and read old items on here. My position has always been this trade makes sense only if the Reds are all in (and I mentioned Realmuto more than one time) for 2019. They weren’t so bad trade. From the day the trade was made I said the Gray trade was fantastic when many others did not like it or were on the fence.

  12. Wes

    To say the reds weren’t contenders after this trade is comical. Puig, wood, and kemp all had their worse seasons as pros and reds still were contending in August. If wood and puig played as expected who’s to say reds wouldn’t still be playing ?!?

    Another major note- The trade was announced atleast 10 days before it happened. That’s bc the reds, most likely, leaked the trade publically in attempt to find a better deal else were (same as w dangling trammell at deadline). When no better deal could be had- then they pulled the trigger w Dodgers.

    Reds have made it clear this is their window they are going to act in while other teams are not there yet. So reds are aggressively making moves- better than no moves and meaningless baseball in June.

    • Oldtimer

      Puig in 2019 (combined) had a nearly identical season to 2018 and close to his all-time “average” season prorated to 162 games.

      Despite being traded in July, he still finished second on Reds in HR and RBI.

      • Oldtimer

        I realize there are modern analytics that are given more weight than these but:

        Puig 2019: 555 AB, 76 R, 148 H, 30 2B, 2 3B, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 19 SB, .267 BA, and .458 SLUG.

        Puig career (projected to 162 G season): 567 AB, 83 R, 157 H, 30 2B, 4 3B, 25 HR, 78 RBI, .277 BA, .475 SLUG.

        Pretty similar.

    • Stock

      Puig had more HR/game with the Reds than he had ever in his career prior to 2019. Puig had more RBI/game with the Reds than he had ever in his career prior to 2019.

      Are you sure he had the worst year of his career? I think not

  13. Oldtimer

    Puig in 2019 had a season very much like his prior MLB seasons. Good enough that he, Trammell, and Moss brought Trevor Bauer to the Reds. Now Bauer did NOT have 2019 season like many of his prior MLB seasons.

      • MK

        Absolutely Oldtimer.

        Pusherman why don’t you take your negativity somewhere else. It is OK to disagree but it doesn’t need to get personal. I find Doug’s research, conjecture and conclusions well thought out even though I don’t always agree I respect his reporting. I do not reach the same conclusions about yours.

    • Doug Gray

      No, he didn’t. The juiced baseball is removing the context. Here’s the OPS+ (which is adjusted for ballparks and league each year) for Puig throughout his career:
      159
      145
      110
      98
      119
      120
      100 (95 for the Reds, 109 for Cleveland).

      With the Reds, he was worse than every year he’d ever had prior, and outside of 2016, it was significantly worse when compared to the league.

      As for Trevor Bauer, you are missing the context of the league again. When looking at his ERA+ (which is adjusted for the parks pitched in and the league), here are his full season marks:

      94
      95
      106
      109
      196
      104 (71 for the Reds, 124 for Cleveland)

      His time with the Reds was not like any of his prior seasons. But his overall season? It was almost exactly like 2016 and 2017, and it was much better than 2014 or 2015.

      • Oldtimer

        Puig had an average year in 2019 that was very similar to his 2018 season. Puig was that MLB caliber RF in 2019. When the trade was made, the Reds had none of those.

        Bauer had an excellent season in 2018 and fair to good seasons the rest of his MLB career.

        Bauer has ace potential but isn’t one yet.

        If the juiced baseball mattered, why did he hit with such power in NL and not so much power in AL? One would think both NL and AL used same juiced baseballs.

      • Stock

        Puig had more HR/game with the Reds than he had ever in his career prior to 2019. Puig had more RBI/game with the Reds than he had ever in his career prior to 2019.

        Are you sure he had the worst year of his career? I think not

      • Stock

        This is only half the story though Doug. The OPS+ on Puig is vastly adjusted thanks to BABIP which I am sure you agree is a luck stat. In fact it is adjust 2fold because it impacts OBP and Slg%. I am not sure how you determine the impact of this.

        What I can tell you is that the Red’s offense is far inferior to that of the Dodgers. Last year with the Dodgers potent lineup he had 63 RBI (60 Runs). This year with the Reds terrible offense he had 61 RBI (51 Runs) in 4 months. He had 9% of the Reds RBI this year even though he was only with the Reds 4 months. Last year he had 8.3% of the Dodgers runs and he was there all year. He missed the last 2 months but still finished 2nd on the Reds in RBI. He was much better than people are saying.

      • Doug Gray

        BABIP can be lucky. But it can also reflect a skill. End of the day, though, as a Red, he was not good and nowhere near what he was expected to be.

  14. Tom B.

    This trade wouldn’t look nearly as bad if Wood had been any kind of effective pitcher this season. Even with releasing Kemp, and even with trading Puig. To me, the real value of this trade was the message to the fans that maybe, just maybe, the Reds were finally interested in doing more than rebuilding for a change. You have to admit, that trade recharged a lot of fans. The problem is that the Reds just laid an egg right out of the gate. To a cynical fan base that’s tired of hearing “if only this” and “if only that,” that was the kiss of death on another losing season.

    • Northern Ky Reds

      Tom, I’m curious about something. First off, I agree with you. Looking back on reds playoff and world series appearances, In almost all of those appearances, they were led by an experienced manager and all had big names attached. Do you think that a Joe Maddon or a Dusty Baker could have got the team off to a better start? The other side of reds manager history is that almost all inexperienced reds managers were bad from the start and went on to be horrible for the team. There is a clear correlation. Your thoughts?

      • Tom B.

        It is certainly coincidental, if nothing else. An experienced manager would certainly be more prepared to handle the start of a new season with a new team. He would immediately have more credibility for sure. The thing that frustrates me every spring is the nonchalant attitude everyone seems to have about how poorly the Reds do in Spring Training games. I get it — the games don’t count. But I’m an engineer — I look for trends that suggest long term success. Success in Spring Training games tells me that the team has the innate ability to win games in the long run. I haven’t seen that in years. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I don’t think the Reds this season had a hitter other than Iglesias over .250 until May or June. Same way with the Reds minor league teams. If I were to come on this site complaining about how bad the Reds minor league teams did this (or seemingly every) year, I would have my lunch handed to me by people scolding me that the main purpose of the minors is to develop players, not win. But if every team in the Reds system finishes at or near the bottom every year, that tells me that they surely are not developing winning talent. And I don’t know if even an experienced manager can fix that.

  15. Northern Ky Reds

    Lets face it, It was a horrible trade. The reds are always name shopping. No way i would have given up on two good prospects like them. I get the fact that we wanted to flip bailey and his contract, but you trade for players that can contribute. Gray is special but downs will be a derrick Jeter. Yeah i agree in taking a chance from time to time, but there was no reason to trade for players that all were in the last year of their respective deals. (i think)? Not trying to be over critical, but i would have shipped Senzel and those 2 guys to grab J.T. Realmuto and a good lefty reliever. The reds are just no good on trades. A GOOD veteran manager could have chimed in to say don’t do it. Plus after all of that, Phil Ervin was completely misused.

    • Oldtimer

      My eyes are on the front of my head so I don’t look backwards very well.

      But looking back anyway. Homer appeared to be finished. The two Reds MiLB prospects appeared to be good, not great.

      Kemp was 2018 NL All-Star. Puig was solid RF and better than any Reds OF at the time. Farmer was a decent utility player. And Wood was a promising LHP for starting rotation.

      Today LAD has two Top 100 MilB prospects. The Reds have SP Trevor Bauer and a decent utility player (Farmer). Bauer must improve in 2020 but Reds can still do well on this trade.

      • stock

        lol. Sorry oldtimer, but you look backwards more than any person in this site. The other day you were discussing the big red machine. so many time you bring up players from the past and interesting stats on them. I am totally fine with this but don’t say you don’t look backwards very well.

        Maybe you meant to say you don’t look backwards pertaining to trades.

      • Oldtimer

        You missed the point. Not the first time. I was referring to THE LAD TRADE. Nothing more, nothing less.

        You cannot judge a trade one year after it was made.

        Many folks who opine here have no idea what good or great Reds teams look like.

      • Oldtimer

        Reds passed on him (Derek Jeter) in favor of Chad Mottola in the 1990s.

    • Dollar Bill

      I remember when the Reds drafted Chad Motolla with I believe the fifth overall pick and Derek Jeter went sixth.

      Just a pretty weak organization from the top on down.

      I am confident that a guy like Bruce Bochy could have won the division in 2019 with this team.

      David Bell needs to be fired .

      • Oldtimer

        I think Bell deserves at least 2 more years. Bryan Price got into his 5th season and deserved to be fired after his 3rd year.

        (Not the same exactly but) Sparky Anderson in 1971 had HOF caliber players at C, 3B, and RF plus All-Star caliber players at 1B and 2B. Future All-Stars at SS and CF. Yet the Reds only won 79 games. THANKFULLY Howsam recognized the team was at fault and not Sparky.

    • Tony Cloninger

      The Jeter from the mid 2000s?

      No none thought DiDi would hit this good but at least wait until he actually makes the major leagues to declare something that asinine. Yes. Asinine. Let when I thought Ervin could be a Kirby Puckett type. Or Trammel was going to be like Andrew McCutchen.

  16. Alex Reds

    It was a horrible trade then, and now. The Reds were far from competing for the playoffs. You first have to establish a core of mostly cost controlled players before you go all in, or extend the payroll. The Reds have some good pieces on current ML roster, but not nearly enough. The Reds needed to add 20+ WAR easily, these trades were not going to get that done. Even if Puig and Wood had career years. The trade was a marketing gimmick to make fans come to the ballpark, and to say they are trying to win. Trading the future for one year rentals didn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense with Trammell for Bauer either. Gray is a fantastic prospect, and he was before the trade as well – but he was young and farther away from ML’s. That shouldn’t matter because Gray will have even more trade value in a couple years. I doubt Downs will be a difference maker. Trammell has huge upside and people miss that it’s his on base and pitch recognition, that makes him have Votto potential – but at CF/LF. I’d predict we will be rebuilding again for another 5+ years within two years without ever making the playoffs. The Reds got greedy since the owner doesn’t have any patience. The FO has to do whatever the owner say. It’s time for the owner to pay up and make up for the mistakes that he made. Unless the owner wants to spend a payroll of well over $200M plus there’s not even a slim chance this team is getting much over .500. It’s sad what the owner and front office has done to this franchise and to the fans. They made us go through a long rebuild, and this team was actually close to competing, it just simply had to stay the course for just a couple more years. It wasn’t the right time to trade top prospects to win 2-5 more games in 2019. Receiving players back with less than 1.5 years of control was short sighted and miscalculated. In 2021, it likely was truly time to go all in.

    • Northern Ky Reds

      Jeter Downs = Didi Gregorious

      I think he’s gonna be good for the dodgers. I didnt know he had pop in the bat.

      • Doug Gray

        Jeter Downs has a chance to maybe hit like Didi Gregorius. There’s no chance on this planet he’s going to be the defender that Didi Gregorius is though. They are just very different kinds of athletes. Gregorius is/was an above-average defender at shortstop. Downs is a guy who probably isn’t even an actual shortstop.

      • Stock

        Everyone is quick to abuse Doug when he is wrong. Not so many quick to mention when he is right.

        Giving Doug credit here. He was a HUGE on Didi’s potential.

    • Northern Ky Reds

      You are on point. Everybody is always giving these guys kudos but I think the always miss the mark. Yes the trade was nothing but a gimmick while the whole time they were gonna increase payroll. Now they’re doing it again about payroll. Just get a good veteran GM and a crafty old veteran manager. I personally feel that dusty would have done wonders with this team. I also feel he could have gotten Votto straight. Bell cant help Votto, just like Price couldn’t help Votto. Its just a young inexperienced front office and the culture is reeking from the stinch of Walt Jocketty.

      • Oldtimer

        Walt Jocketty crafted Reds teams of 2010, 2012 and 2013.

        No stench then.

      • Stock

        Jocketty took credit but lets look at the facts

        C – Hanigan/Hernandez Jocketty brought in Hernandez
        1B – Votto. Already a Red
        2B – Phillips. Already a Red
        3B – Rolen. Jocketty brought in Rolen
        SS – Cabrera Jocketty brought in Rolen
        OF – Gomes, Stubbs, Bruce, Heisey Jocketty brought in Gomes

        SP – Arroyo, Cueto, Harang, Bailey, Leake, Wood

        Gomes, Cabrera and Hernandez were role players.

        Jocketty traded Edwin Encarncion to get Rolen. Toronto without a doubt were winners on this trade. You can argue the Reds were because of Rolen’s value as a leader.

        Doug probably does not have anything from the winter of 2009/2010 but I predicted the Reds would win the division in 2010 thanks to a great SP. Jocketty had zero input on this.

      • Oldtimer

        You missed one. He brought in Dusty Baker, too. The only MLB caliber manager the Reds have had since Jack McKeon.

      • Oldtimer

        During his time as Cardinal GM, the Cardinals compiled seven National League Central Division championships (1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), two National League Championships (2004 and 2006), and one World Series Championship (2006). The Cardinals had seven straight winning seasons under Jocketty, including 100+ win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Jocketty has been named the Executive of the Year in MLB three times, in 2000, 2004, & 2010.

        Jocketty was fired by the Cardinals organization on October 3, 2007. Team owner Bill DeWitt cited divisiveness in the baseball operations front office as the reason for Jocketty’s dismissal.[4]

        Jocketty was hired as a Special Adviser to the Cincinnati Reds on January 11, 2008. Jocketty’s role was to advise and assist the team in their baseball operations which includes the front office, personnel, scouting, minor and international operations and training and medical services. He was named the next General Manager of the Reds after Wayne Krivsky was fired April 23, 2008.

        After the 2010 season, Jocketty was named Sporting News Executive Of Year.

      • Cguy

        Reds hired Dusty Baker in early October of 2007. Several months before Joketty was hired. Six months before Krivski was fired. By all accounts I’ve read, Castellini sent Krivski to see if Baker was interested in the job. Why give Walt the credit?

      • Cguy

        I don’t think I’d mention some of those 2010 acquisitions. The Hernandez deal with Baltimore sent Waring, Freel, & Justin Turner to the Orioles. Actually, a typical Joketty trade. Overpaying in prospects for veterans.

  17. Hoyce

    Wood is a good pitcher but was/is and gonna be an injury prob. He’s always injured. Puig is a fun player to watch but a head case that is one blow up from a 10 game suspension at any given point. While it woulda been nice to substitute vlad g and Siri for the prospects that were actually trade that isn’t what happened. Best part of deal is the reds got rid of bailey who was not gonna sit in the reds dugout quietly.
    All of it led to a Bauer pickup. Which the most important part will be how he saves the BP of the reds in 2020. That cannot be understated. The reds need to concentrate on getting the rest of the staff thru 6 inn pitched in a consistent basis. Have to pump strike at the expense of a few 0-2 hits
    Lastly. My biggest complaint w bell is lineup construction. Votto is not a #2 hitter anymore. Ervin should never hit after Iglesias in the 6 hole while facing a LHP. I predict bell is ran outta town after 2020

    • Doug Gray

      People keep bringing up the whole “Alex Wood is always injured” thing. He’s thrown 150+ innings in four of the last five years. He threw 60 in 2016. There’s a difference between he’s missed a few starts here and there, and saying it should have been known he’d miss five months. The Reds probably weren’t expecting him to throw 175+ innings. Nor should they have. But it’s also silly to suggest that they should have known he’d be hurt for 5 months, too, right? Nothing at all in his history suggests that.

      • Alex Reds

        I’m still of the belief that if you think Wood is healthy next year, you offer a qualifying offer. He’s worth $19M for one year without giving up any prospects if he’s healthy starting the year. It’s hard to think the Reds can sign any FA that’s better for a one year $19M deal, and the Reds would have to beat out all other teams offer or overpay any player since it’s not a desired destination to go to with the lack of success.

      • Schottzie

        Since 2015, from what I can find, Alex Wood and Anthony Desclafani have pitched almost the exact same number of innings (584 vs 582). Deduce from that what you may.

      • Stock

        You could revise it a bit Doug. 2019 was the 4th straight year in which Wood failed to throw 155 innings.

        None of this matters though. The Reds made a dumb trade not because Wood/Puig are bad players but by making the trades they did they still were not considered by the “experts” to have enough to finish higher than 4th place. A small market team does not give up prospects to finish in 4th.

        I have never heard this before but I sometimes think the Reds made this move exclusively for short term financial reasons. Sell more tickets with the big names and reduce salary at the same time.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t have a link handy right now, but I know that Fangraphs at the time of the trade labeled the deal as one that made the Reds contenders for at least a wild card spot.

  18. burtgummer

    While I won’t resort to stupid insults the Dodgers trade was a terrible one from the beginning it comes close to the Chapman deal
    The Sonny Gray trade was a good bordering great deal,they now have a legit ace in Gray and an almost ace in Castillo
    They need to pull something off to get a number 5 starter Mahle is awful Santillan was bad last year

    • DaveCT

      Sonny Gray is not just a very good pitcher, but the dude competes as if his life depended on it. This is certainly a big win in the trade department. I enjoyed watching him perform immensely. That’s added value. Having recently moved to near Seattle, I will bring RML’s updates on Shed. Suffice it to say at this point, the M’s really like him. Nothing wrong with both clubs being happy with trades.

    • Oldtimer

      The Reds website lists Castillo as Reds #1 SP (depth chart). Baseball Reference lists him #1 among Reds SP.

      Castillo is the ace now. Gray may become one.

      Castillo had more IP, more K, and more W in 2019.

      • Doug Gray

        Sonny Gray was a better pitcher than Luis Castillo in 2019. He’s the #1 pitcher on the staff.

    • Northern Ky Reds

      This team couldn’t trade its way out of a paper bag.

  19. DaveCT

    Downs straight up for a full season of Puig (or flipped at deadline or QO)

    Gray straight up up for the same of White.

    Bailey straight up for Kemp

    Farmer a throw in adding depth at C and Inf.

    Players with one full season at Lo-A for established ML players.

    Contract for contract.

    Throw in.

    I didn’t like the trade at the time although Puig was intriguing, and that was without knowing Downs is limited to 2B. Losing Gray stung a bit but so be it. Who’d have imagined Bailey would outperform Kemp? That said, I can absolutely understand the club making the trade, especially given the abysmal development of ML players during the youth movement. They tried to do it through drafting and small degree signings. It didn’t work. They tried something else.

    What would all of the naysayers have said if they didn’t try something new?

    100 out of 100, well, Doug, my friend, maybe next time make it 99. After all, remember Einstein’s definition of insanity.

    • Oldtimer

      Happy for Homer. Maybe the AL change made a difference. Maybe he is just healthy.

      • Stock

        Or maybe he realized in August he had to build a resume for a big contract so he played up to his potential for 8 starts. The rest of the year he sucked.

      • Oldtimer

        Actually not so. He had a few bad outings scattered among most good or better outings.

        Those few He Got Clobbered outings drove his ERA up into mid 4 range.

        He was 7-6 with KCR and 6-3 with OAK. He was better in OAK but decent with KCR.

  20. Rich H

    Doug, I agree with you 100%, great article. It’s unfortunate that so many people here can’t separate the projections that nearly every credible major outlet had for the Reds after this trade, and the solid process used in making it. These things always come with risk, but taking a smart risk (even if it doesn’t work out) is better than doing nothing, in the Reds position. If people were able to be a bit more humble and realize that whatever gut feeling they have as a fan is almost certainly worth a lot less than the cumulative opinion of all the professional scouts and analysts who are paid for their work, commenting everywhere would be much better. THESE REDS DON’T KNOW NOTHIN, WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST GIVE SCOOTER 100 MILLION FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, RABBLE RABBLE.