On Monday afternoon, Trevor Bauer was on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, conducting his Wiffleball camp with dozens of youngsters less than 24 hours after catching the public eye after hurling a baseball from behind the Kauffman Stadium pitching mound to the center field batter’s eye.
On Tuesday, he said goodbye to his Cleveland teammates of the last six years as he was dealt across the state to Cincinnati in a reported three-team trade with the Reds and the San Diego Padres.
Ending months of speculation dating back to this past winter, Bauer is an Indian no more as he was sent to Cincinnati in a curious landing spot for the 28-year-old veteran right-hander. The Indians received outfielder Yasiel Puig and minor league pitcher Scott Moss from the Reds, as well as giant slugger Franmil Reyes, left-handed reliever Logan Allen, and minor league infielder Victor Nova from the Padres, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Reds also dealt top prospect Taylor Trammell to the Padres as part of the deal.
The three clubs involved in the deal had not publicly announced the trade at the time of this story and there may be other players involved, but Puig acknowledged his involvement in his postgame interview and via his Twitter account on Tuesday night.
News had broken to players in the Indians locker room after the game as Bauer hugged teammates prior to leaving without comment to the media.
“I want to process it before I fully give my answer because you’re losing a damn good pitcher in a race right now,” shared long-time Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis in a story on MLB.com. “That’s no fun for our clubhouse, and I’m sure it wasn’t any fun for our front office if it is true and did happen. That’s a hard trigger to pull. Hopefully, we get some guys here who are ready to compete and ready to fit in and are ready to buy in to what we’re doing here.”
In a rare move made by a contending team, the Indians dealt one of their more productive starters of the last several years and a 2018 All-Star in Bauer mid-year for some significant thump from Puig and Reyes, who each have hit as many or more home runs than any member of the Indians’ current lineup (Carlos Santana leads the club currently with 22).
The return will give the Indians a rental in Puig, who will spend the final two months of the regular season in his third Major League stop and his first trip into the American League. The 28-year-old, who incidentally enough was ejected as part of a ninth inning brawl at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night, comes to Cleveland after playing in 100 games with the Reds, posting a .252/.302/.475 slash with 15 doubles, one triple, 22 homers, and 61 RBI while stealing 14 bases in 19 attempts.
Puig spent his first six big league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, finishing second in the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year voting and making the 2014 All-Star team. He hit a career-high 28 homers for the Dodgers in 2017 and is on pace to surpass that figure this season. He has played in the postseason each of his first six seasons in the Majors while with the Dodgers.
Cleveland also acquired several pieces for the immediate future in Reyes and Allen and additional depth in Moss and Nova for the more distant future.
The second-year 24-year-old Reyes was leading the Padres in home runs this season with 27. In 99 games played for San Diego, the 6’5, 275 lb. right fielder owned a .255/.314/.536 slash with nine doubles and 46 RBI. While he has committed the most errors in right field in the National League this season, he has also provided the league with its fifth-highest at bat per home run rate at 11.7 entering play on Tuesday.
Last season, Reyes put up a .280/.340/.498 slash with nine doubles, 16 homers, and 31 RBI in 87 games. He is under club control through 2024.
Allen is a 22-year-old rookie left-hander who has made four starts and four relief appearances for the Padres this season. An eighth round pick of the 2015 draft out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, by Boston, he was dealt after five months in the Red Sox organization to the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel trade.
Allen made his Major League debut on June 18 of this season. He was 2-3 in eight games with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP with 14 strikeouts and 13 walks in 25 1/3 innings of work. On the farm, he was 4-3 with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 13 starts at Triple-A El Paso this season. Last year, he went 14-6 with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 25 games (24 starts) between Double-A San Antonio and El Paso.
Moss, 24, was in his fourth professional season with the Reds after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of Florida. The left-hander was working for the club’s Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga and was 6-5 through 20 starts with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP with 123 strikeouts and 57 walks in 102 innings of work. Moss was an MiLB.com organizational All-Star for the Reds in 2017 and has twice been named a mid-season minor league All-Star while at the Class-A and Double-A levels.
Nova, 19, is much further off than the other players acquired by the Indians on Tuesday night. A left-handed hitting utility man, he spent last year with the Padres’ Dominican Summer League affiliate, appearing in 38 games while slashing .197/.370/.291 with three doubles one triple, two homers, and 17 RBI. This year while working in the Arizona League, he has posted a .330/.421/.451 line with two doubles, three triples, one homer, and 17 RBI in 26 games. He has played at second and third base and both left and center field during his first 64 professional games.
It is unknown how the Indians will intend on using their two new outfielders, as Puig and Reyes are both right fielders by trade. Reyes has only played in right during his two big league seasons, while Puig has not played another outfield spot since 2016 when he played all three for Los Angeles. The team could start the pairs in the corners, or could utilize one (more likely Reyes) as a more consistent designated hitter in the lineup. Allen could head to Triple-A Columbus or plug in as a back end starter or a reliever for the Indians.
The Indians may not be done, as several moves will need to happen to fit the three new 40-man roster members into the mix in Cleveland. Bauer’s removal will free up one spot, but two more will need to be created. The Major and minor league relief corps may be the area targeted the most, especially with Danny Salazar expected to be activated from the 60-day injured list on Thursday, which will force yet another 25- and 40-man move.
Bauer’s stay in Cincinnati may not last a day. There is speculation that the Reds could flip the starter, who is making $13 million this season and due a payday in arbitration this offseason. Bauer will be a free agent following the 2020 season. If the Reds elect to hold on to Bauer, he will join a starting rotation that already includes several strong arms in Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, All-Star Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, and Alex Wood. Roark has been the subject of trade rumors this month.
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