The Cincinnati Reds acquired Trevor Bauer as part of a three team trade. The most valuable player that the Reds gave up was Taylor Trammell, who was sent to the San Diego Padres. Both the Padres and the Reds sent a combination of major league outfielders and minor league prospects to the Cleveland Indians. The Reds sent Yasiel Puig and Scott Moss to the Indians whilst the Padres sent Franmil Reyes, Logan Allen and Victor Nova. The Indians received a big haul that helps them now and in the future but the Reds and Indians have each chosen a very clear and very different direction with this trade.
The Reds and Padres have shown that they have very different philosophies when it comes to player trades. Both teams have almost identical records at the time of the trade, Both have little chance of winning their division and Both have a lot of teams above them in the wildcard standings. However, the Reds have opted to improve their major league roster for this season whereas the Padres have added a very good prospect to their already strong group of young players.
With the addition of Trevor Bauer the Cincinnati Reds have improved their rotation for the next year and a bit. Trevor Bauer is under team control until after the 2020 season. Combined with Luis Castillo and with the way that Tanner Roark is pitching, the Reds may have one of the best rotations in the national league after this trade. But does it give them a chance to make the postseason? Probably not.
The Reds main problem this season has been offence, they have the 7th worst OPS+ in baseball this season. A lot of this can be put down to the decline of Joey Votto who was expected to be their most productive hitter but is now below average. With Votto under contract until 2024 and the Reds limited budget, it might be a while until the offence is fixed.
Trading away Puig makes sense given that he is a free agent after this season but trading their number one prospect Taylor Trammell is puzzling. Shipping out hitting prospects gives the Reds even less hope of an improved offence and it is unclear how they will fix the lineup before Trevor Bauer becomes a free agent.
The only way that this trade makes sense is if you consider what the aims of the Reds’ ownership and front office are. Most teams are constantly aiming for a championship. It has become common wisdom to give up and sell productive players once it seems unlikely that a team will win the World Series. The Reds have a different view to most teams, they want to win as many games as possible each season and are content to merely field a team that can be competitive in any individual game. After being out of contention very early many times in recent seasons, the Reds front office is going to try and compete if they have any chance of making the postseason.
In contrast to this outlook, the Padres have decided that their chances are not good enough to give up top prospects and try and make a push. By trading Franmil Reyes they have weakened the major league roster. Reyes has 27 homeruns this year with an OPS of .849. Trading a productive player under team control is unusual for a team looking to compete in the next few years, but the Padres have had a surplus of corner outfielders for sometime with Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers sharing at bats with Reyes this year. Moving Reyes will give exciting outfielder Franchy Cordero more opportunities once he returns from injury.
Logan Allen was also a player that was not needed for the Padres, despite being a top 100 prospect. The Padres have a strong group of young pitchers including Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patino, who have performed better in the minor leagues. Chris Paddack, Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon have also started to show that they can perform in the majors. Allen was maybe the least promising of this group given that he has struggled in triple-A and the majors this year.
The San Diego Padres have traded two players from areas of strength and the third, Victor Nova, most likely does not fit in their current window. In return they have received one of the top outfield prospects in baseball. They will hope that Taylor Trammell can become their long term centre fielder and be part of a championship core with: Manny Machado, Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr.
The Padres have been re-building the organisation for a long time and are now starting to see some hope. Unlike the Cincinnati Reds, they are not content to just be competitive they will only be satisfied when they win a championship. The San Diego front office has decided that a championship is not coming this year but they may have strengthened the team in a few years time by opting to defer their playoff push for another year.