The trade, per Mark Feinsand, looks like this: Bauer to Cincinnati, Yasiel Puig, Franmil Reyes, Scott Moss, Logan Allen and Victor Nova to Cleveland and Taylor Trammell goes from the Reds to the Padres.
Bauer has been a trade candidate for months. Rumours of a move in the offseason never became reality, but as Cleveland struggled early in the season, the possibility of a trade increased. The Indians are back in contention now, though with one year of very expensive arbitration remaining for Bauer, a trade always seemed probable as the 31st July exclusive trade deadline loomed.
For a starter with one season of team control remaining, this is an absolutely extraordinary haul.
Puig helps a weak Indians outfield.
Reyes will play a bit on the outfield corners too as well as DH – his power bat slots right into the middle of Cleveland’s line-up.
Moss, a left-handed Double-A starter, has been a solid pitcher through the minors and could become a handy rotation piece.
Allen is similar to Moss – he’s a high-floor guy, and while he’s struggled in triple-A so far, projects to become a back-end of the rotation arm. Pitching depth is always nice.
Nova is a 19-year-old infielder who has been lighting up the rookie league. Every farm system needs a few dice roll prospects.
Cleveland’s rotation, with Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber due back in August, is still good enough without Bauer. Sure, it weakens them, but Mike Chernoff has used the Bauer trade to bolster not just their farm, he’s found a way to improve their chances of winning in 2019, too.
The Indians’ offence has been patchy this season. Jordan Luplow and Oscar Mercado have hit well. Away from that, however, the supporting cast around Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana hasn’t been great, though Jose Ramirez’s return to form has been a huge boost.
Puig and Reyes will take plate appearances away from that group of role players. Jake Bauers owns a .691 OPS – his opportunities will be limited. Greg Allen – .677 OPS – will see his role reduced too, with Tyler Naquin, Puig, Reyes, Mercado and Luplow dominating the outfield game time.
While the rotation is weaker, and this puts a lot of pressure on Adam Plutko and Zach Plesac, the Indians are a more-rounded team after this trade. Chernoff has pulled off the ever-desired ‘get prospects, improve Major League roster’ deal that is so hard to do.
Considering Bauer has the same amount of control as Marcus Stroman left, this gives a good comparison. Bauer is perhaps a level above Stroman, and racks up a lot more strike outs, but this seems like an exceptional return compared to the two pitching prospects Toronto received for their ace.
For a team in serious contention trading away their top starter, this trade went about as well as it could have for Cleveland.