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Trevor Bauer traded to Reds as part of three-team swap

In exchange, Cleveland is acquiring Franmil Reyes and Yasiel Puig. Padres receive Taylor Trammell.

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals
“You’re going to Cincinnati.”
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

An unusually slow trade deadline was ignited Tuesday night by a three-team trade between the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, and Cleveland Indians. Jeff Passan of ESPN was the first to report that Trevor Bauer is heading across Ohio to the Reds while Cleveland is finally getting some much-needed outfield help. The Reds are sending Yasiel Puig and left-handed starter Scott Moss to Cleveland while Taylor Trammell, Cincinnati’s top outfield prospect, is going to San Diego. The Padres are sending right-handed slugger Franmil Reyes to Cleveland along with left-handed pitcher Logan Allen and third base prospect Victor Nova.

Cleveland unsuccessfully shopped Bauer over the winter and the Reds emerged as a top suitor, but no deal was struck. It seemed inevitable that Cleveland would trade Bauer before the 2020 season as they seemed reluctant to pay him for a fourth year of arbitration. The urgency to deal him away may have intensified Sunday after Bauer threw a ball over the center field wall in frustration before being taken out of the game.

Bauer is having a down year by his standards. In 156 2/3 innings, Bauer has a 3.79 ERA and a 4.92 DRA. He still owns the 16th best strikeout rate among qualified starters, but his walk rate is the highest since 2015 when he finished the year with a 4.55 ERA. Cincinnati, though, hopes that Bauer can regain some of his 2018 form next year when the Reds make another push in what should still be a tightly contested NL Central.

With Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco returning soon, Cleveland felt they could deal from their strength to address their glaring weaknesses: the outfield and the designated hitter. Almost anyone would have been an upgrade. Cleveland designated hitters not named Carlos Santana have combined for a .283 wOBA. Meanwhile, the outfield has combined for just 2.1 fWAR.

Puig addresses the lack of outfield depth though, like Bauer, he is also having a down year. Puig hit .252/.302/.475 as a Red, but that’s much better than what Jake Bauers and Greg Allen are hitting. Puig’s final act as a Red adds a wrinkle to the trade. Immediately after the news broke, Puig got involved with a brawl between the Reds and Pirates. Puig could begin his tenure in Cleveland serving a suspension.

Reyes, who has spent all of his time in the majors in right field, will likely take over the designated hitter role. Reyes emerged as the Padres’ best hitter last year, but he’s slowed down a bit in 2019. Still, he’s hitting .253/.312/.535 with power that can play anywhere.

Reyes’s lack of a position may be what ultimately made him expendable in San Diego’s eyes. Reyes is under team control through 2024 arguably making him Cleveland’s big prize of the deal, but that depends on what Logan Allen becomes.

Allen was San Diego’s seventh-best prospect in their vaunted farm system, and he initially came over in the Craig Kimbrel trade in 2015. He struggled in a brief stint in the majors this year pitching to a 6.75 ERA in 25 1/3 innings both as a starter and a reliever. Allen’s fastball sits 92-94 and his changeup is a plus offspeed pitch. He could help fill the void left by Bauer in 2020 though some see him as a back-end starter.

The Padres gave up two promising players for Taylor Trammell, the eighth-best outfield prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline. Trammell, 21, has taken a step back at Double-A this year. Through 377 plate appearances, Trammell is hitting just .236/.350/.338. The power hasn’t come around for him yet though there’s an intriguing potential with his gap-to-gap approach.

That Trammell’s stock has fallen a bit since the offseason makes one wonder if the Padres didn’t ask for enough in return. Trammell likely won’t crack a big-league roster until 2021, and they gave up two promising players who were either up and contributing or ready to contribute by next season. San Diego made a splash signing Manny Machado this offseason, but acquiring Trammell, regardless of his future value, delays their plans.

Cleveland is also acquiring Scott Moss and Victor Nova. Moss is an unranked left-handed starter with tremendous strikeout numbers, but he’s walking 5.03 batters per nine innings in his first full season of Double-A. Nova is a 19-year-old third baseman who was hitting well in the AZL.

This was shaping up to be one of the slower trade deadlines in recent memory, but that all changed with one trade. There’s lots of talent heading in every direction, and this could change the landscape of baseball not only in this season but in the seasons to come as well.

Kenny Kelly is a writer for Beyond the Box Score and McCovey Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter @KennyKellyWords.