Revisiting the Wild Dodgers-Reds Trade Involving Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Jeter Downs

Yasiel Puig on the Cincinnati Reds against the Los Angeles Dodgers
Yasiel Puig on the Cincinnati Reds against the Los Angeles Dodgers | Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

The story of Yasiel Puig is one of the strangest in MLB history. Puig quickly went from 2013 MLB All-Star to locker room cancer. When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded him away in 2019, it was a clear example of addition by subtraction.

In December of 2018, LA sent Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds for Homer Bailey and prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs.

The Reds were robbed blind. Matt Kemp was waived after batting .200 across 62 games. Wood only started seven games for the Reds due to injury, going 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA. He left as a free agent to return to the Dodgers this past offseason.

Puig hit .252 with 89 strikeouts before being traded away to the Cleveland Indians after 100 games. Kyle Farmer is the only player from the trade left on the Reds, who will likely come off the bench this season.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers still finished 106-56 without Puig in 2019, and added two legit prospects. Both ranked in the top 100 by MLB Pipeline before the 2020 season.

Shortstop Jeter Downs now is a member of the Boston Red Sox, after being a key piece in the trade that brought Mookie Betts and David Price to LA. Gray, on the other hand, remains a strong pitching prospect for the Dodgers. He posted a 2.28 ERA in 26 games, including 25 starts, across both Single-A and Double-A in 2019.

At the end of the day, the Dodgers got one strong pitching prospect, acquired Mookie Betts, and got rid of Puig. On the other hand, all the Reds still have is Kyle Farmer. That's a tough pill to swallow for Reds fans.