Dodgers: Looking Back on the Trade of Yasiel Puig and Friends

The Dodgers traded outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, left-handed starter Alex Wood, and catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-hander Homer Bailey, — with his gargantuan contract attached — along with prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.

The Trade

This off-season, one of the team’s main focuses was staying under the luxury tax threshold for another year. They were able to do that because of this trade. Homer Bailey was owed a little over $22 million this season, Matt Kemp was owed $21.5 million, and Yasiel Puig was owed $9.7 million in his final season under contract. So, the Dodgers were able to save about $9.2 million with this trade and they got two prospects who certainly are worthwhile pieces.

Jeter Downs on 5/2/19 (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers, Dodgers Nation)

Downs, 20, is currently playing for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and is doing fairly well. To go along with a 116 wRC+, Downs has hit 11 home runs and has stolen 16 bases in just 59 games. Downs was selected 32nd overall in the 2017 MLB Draft and is currently ranked as the Dodgers’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He should have an above-average glove and arm for second base or shortstop.

Gray, 21, is Downs’ teammate on the Quakes and is having a fantastic start to the 2019 season and could receive a promotion in short order. He has a 2.58 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 52 1/3 innings, so far. Opposing hitters are batting .155 against him this season as he continues to demonstrate real potential as a key member of the Dodgers’ farm system.

Bailey, a vet, is now pitching for the Kansas City Royals. He has a 5.37 ERA in 67 innings for them.

The Moving Parts

Let’s take a look at whether or not the trade has turned out to be one that is worthwhile:

Yasiel Puig

Puig, arguably the most polarizing player in the game, has struggled mightily through the first two and a half months of the season.


In the final year of his deal, Puig has mustered just a 62 wRC+ and a gruesome -1.3 WAR.


Matt Kemp

Long-time Dodger Matt Kemp is on the downside of his career trajectory and when he was released by the Reds last month, it could mark the end of Kemp’s career as an outfielder, at least.

Kemp was picked up by the Mets and is currently playing Triple-A Syracuse, where he has a 52 wRC+. He had just a 22 wRC+ for the Reds across 62 plate appearances. Kemp could be on the verge of retirement.

Alex Wood

Wood has yet to throw a pitch for the Cincinnati Reds this season as he remains sidelined with a back injury. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen as recently as June 9, but remains a long way away from a return.

Kyle Farmer

Farmer has been the best of the bunch so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has been very good himself. Farmer has socked 5 home runs and posted a 78 wRC+ for the Reds in 86 plate appearances. He has been worth just 0.1 WAR.


This was an elite trade for the Dodgers, plain and simple. We traded fan favorites, but we got potential and salary cap relief, which is huge. Now, let’s hope Gray and Downs can continue to do their thing.

Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.


  1. Although not a part of the trade I think you also have to factor in the trade for Pollock, who supposedly filled in the spot vacated by Kemp and Puig. So lets see how that plays out over the three years of his contract vs Puigs next three years.

  2. This is the kind of balls up trade we need more frequently from Friedman. I seen videos of these two young players and they will be starters within three or four years, especially our need of a second baseman says:

    This is the kind of balls up trade we need more frequently from Friedman. I seen videos of these two young players and they will be starters within three or four years, especially our need of a second baseman and either along really picture or number five. We need a relief pitcher now though

  3. At the time, a lot of us assumed that Puig would really rake in that bandbox in Cincy, but we were wrong. This was a very good trade, even if we don’t like the Dodgers engaging in salary dumps. It would be nice if, when he retires, the Dodgers find some place in the organization for Kemp.

  4. Well Puig has 12 HR’s, albeit we know he plays in a smaller much more hitter friendly park. He’s only hitting .223 however and he’s not setting the league on fire at all. One big surprise so far this year as compared to last year is he’s hitting LHP much better than he did with us at .281 with 5 of his 12 HR’s against them. Other than that we have A FAR SUPERIOR guy playing RF for us and we obviously are not missing Puig one little bit.

  5. Dodgers:
    Please don’t make the mistake I know you’re gonna make: putting Poorluck in to replace Ace Verdugo. The kid is our future NOW and the oft injured Poorluck is just a misguided trade by a FO determined to hold on to our prospects but afraid to commit to them (kinda like wanting your cake instead of eating it….what a waste of an approach!)

    1. Polluck was a FA signing, not a trade, but I agree. VerDog is a beast. Play him. Polluck might be better served playing less, since tripping over a pebble puts him on the IL.

  6. Bring Kemp over for a few bucks to finish out his long career at home with a WS ring. He deserves it and can be a great asset in the dugout, coaching the youth, and giving Bellinger and Verdugo rest day support.

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