In the middle of the night I was crawling the internet looking for what the national media was saying about the Cincinnati Reds trade that brought starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to the organization, while sending out Yasiel Puig, Taylor Trammell, and Scott Moss. For the most part no one really seemed to think the Reds come out ahead on the deal, with most thinking Cleveland got the best end of the deal from the Reds and Padres. But what about what Redleg Nation’s writers?

Jeff Carr

It will be hard to properly evaluate this trade until we know what 2020 holds. If the Reds make a playoff run with Bauer in the rotation, then this trade is a win, for me. I know there is a thought of the Reds getting fleeced, but there are still some extenuating circumstance of maybe they can sign Puig back, in free agency, and maybe Trammell doesn’t pan out. Let’s face it, though, we understood this may happen with Puig, when the season started. If he brought in the biggest piece to the playoff puzzle, then it’s a win.

Matthew Habel

Admittedly, I was starting to lose motivation for following this team down the stretch. I had resigned to the fact that there would be no meaningful trade at the deadline and that the team would play mediocre baseball the rest of the way and finish exactly where the projections expected them to. In regards to that, I am excited that the organization showed some signs of life and made the team better for next year. That fact is undeniable. It has gotten very tiresome trying to be smart, calculated and focused on the long-term all the time.

The trade with the Dodgers this past winter broke free from that a bit and this trade reiterates that even more. Trammell was my favorite prospect but you have to give up something to get something. Puig is a treasure but there is still at least a small chance they could resign him next year if he really enjoyed Cincinnati as much as he says. Bauer is a good pitcher and the rotation should be nails. If they can make a couple more moves to bolster the offense, I will feel much better about the 2020 team than I did about the 2019 team. We can worry about the long-term later.

Ashley Davis

This trade will look 100% better if the Reds sign a hitter or two before the 2020 season starts. Yes, we all would’ve hoped they’d get more in return for Trammell, but it’s still too early to judge anything at this point. The trade has shown one thing, however. The Reds are serious about contending next year. They now have one of the best starting rotations in the NL. In an era of tanking teams and half-hearted attempts at winning for fear of losing unproven prospects, the Reds are trying to get back to prominence and aren’t afraid to trade a top prospect to do so.

Bill Lack

In essence, they traded Trammell (and Scott Moss, a pretty effective minor leaguer), plus 35% of a season of Puig (on a team whose offense has been underperforming all season) for 1 season and 35% of another of Bauer, who right now projects to be the #3 starter on this team. I think some will say that the Reds may have soured on Trammell and that they can bring Puig back in the off-season; but to me, it seems like they’ve over-payed for a commodity that they already had in abundance, starting pitching.

Jim Walker

I like what this deal says about the Reds front office. They didn’t quite complete the job of “Get THE Pitching” over the off season; but, they stuck to it and now have the man they were said to be targeting all along, Trevor Bauer. Yes their give seems a bit high for a year and a third of Bauer; but, it shows an active willingness and flexibility to compete we’ve not seen in recent years from the Reds FO. For me this underscores they get it that the days of building set piece teams then sitting back and watching them for half a decade or longer are gone. This may be most important takeaway of the entire deal.     

Tom Mitsoff

How you feel about the trade basically comes down to how you feel about Taylor Trammell. If you believe he is going to be an everyday star major leaguer, you certainly believe the Reds gave up way too much for a year and two months of Trevor Bauer. If you believe there is question as to whether he will ever be good enough to be an everyday star, you probably believe the Reds made a good trade. Puig was becoming a fan favorite, and it was becoming more likely that he would seriously consider resigning with the Reds. He expressed deep feelings for his teammates and Reds fans in his farewell message on Twitter.

We saw enough in four months to realize why the Dodgers were willing to trade him. His sub-100 wRC+ should not have occurred in a hitter-friendly park like GABP. There is a chance the Reds may approach him in free agency, depending on what they see from VanMeter, et. al., during the final two months. I love a rotation that goes four deep — Castillo, Gray, Bauer and Wood — with starters who could all be considered top-half-of-the-rotation guys.

Jeff Gangloff

For me, this trade is all about confidence. It’s testing the confidence I have in the front office and in the “plan” going forward. I believe in Dick Williams and his staff – but I’m nervous. We aren’t in the peaceful place of stockpiling prospects and doing low risk deals anymore – this thing is becoming real…and it’s kind of scary. Being Reds fans (and Cincinnati sports fans in general), I think most of our expectations and thoughts immediately assume failure. I get that, but think of the alternative. The Reds will start 2020 with a championship caliber rotation and will assuredly improve the lineup going into next year (this deal isn’t the last, I guarantee you that). It’s not like the window is completely shut after 2020, either. So, is Taylor Trammel worth a legit playoff push and World Series run in 2020 to you? Do you have confidence in the front office and in the “plan” going forward? For me, it’s yes and yes.

Wes Jenkins

You know that feeling after you catch up with a TV show you really like and the next episode is out the next day, so you’re super excited and there’s all this anticipation but then you find out your parents/roommate/spouse sold your TV for a supposedly magic rock that will give you everything you’ve ever wanted if you just close your eyes, plug your ears, and ignore every single shred of reality that says magic rocks aren’t real? That’s what this trade feels like. Giving up something fun and exciting that made Reds baseball worth watching for a magic rock that by all indications is just a nice looking rock and not magic at all. Oh, and your TV is gone too so say goodbye to future fun and exciting shows.

Greg Dafler

You can never have too much pitching, and this move clearly sets up another strong rotation for next season. Time will tell whether the Reds paid too much, as moving both Puig and Trammell seems really steep compared to what the Mets traded for Stroman. Hopefully, the Reds can execute on whatever plan is in place to strengthen the outfield offense, maybe even going after Puig as a free agent acquisition.

Doug Gray

I wrote a longer, much more detailed piece on this over at RedsMinorLeagues.com. But to make a long story short, I think the Reds overpaid to acquire a good, but not elite pitcher. Trevor Bauer’s going to make the Reds better today, and in 2020. But in a day and age when everyone covets “service time” over ability, the Reds seemed to go the other way. There’s something I’d like to write a little more on that idea, but if that’s where the market is, then Taylor Trammell should have had more value than Trevor Bauer given his contract status. Tossing in Puig AND another prospect seems like tilting things a lot more away from the Reds here.

Photo of Trevor Bauer by Erik Drost. It was slightly modified to fit the site. You can see the license for the photo here.

33 Responses

  1. Rut

    Looks like the evaluation of the trade depends on your view of Bauer’s ability (captain obvious, I know).

    But, if as Bill Lack states, Bauer is a #3 starter, then it was a bad trade.

    Btw, I think that is way off, he is easily #2 and probably a #1 for us in 2020.

    If Bauer is the pitcher I think he is, then it is a good deal for the Reds as those guys are rare and not available with regularity.

    • KDJ

      2018 Bauer is a 1.
      All other years Bauer is a good 3.
      Even so, he does make the rotation better.

      • Rut

        But what will he be in 2020?

        I think the move to NL helps, a team that fully supports his analytic approach helps, and being in a contract year helps.

        Bauer is a top #2, possible #1 in the NL next year.

  2. Steve

    If the Reds re sign Puig and get Yasmani Grandal (we really need a catcher), I think this is a playoff team. We could probably also resign Scooter to a one year 5-6 million deal and he can play 2B. If those things occur this is a good trade. If Bauer is all we do it’s pointless as we will not be playoff contender in 2020. And gave away 6-7 years of a future OF for a meaningless season.

  3. redsfan06

    Doug, I think it is odd you call Bauer a good, not great, pitcher and then compare him to Homer Bailey before his huge contract extension. You were all in on Homer’s $106 million contract topping out at $25 million/year. It seems like you would think pretty highly of Bauer if he is the equivalent.

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s clarify: I said Homer Bailey was WORTH his contract at the time. I still believe that. I’ve also never called Homer Bailey a great pitcher. The economics of contracts have changed, but when Homer Bailey got his deal it wasn’t even HALF as much as elite pitchers were getting. The elite guys were getting significantly more per year.

      • redsfan06

        Let’s clarify that Bailey’s contract was worth EXTREMELY MORE than HALF of what the top pitchers were receiving at the time. Greinke is being paid $32 million in 2021, another 2 years from now. And his contract was signed in 2016, 2 years after Homer’s extension. So 7 years after Homer’s signing, the best paid pitcher is still not double Homer’s AAV. No need for you to exaggerate.

      • Doug Gray

        Max Scherzer’s getting $42M this season. But I don’t really care to argue with you over something stupid right now. Especially given that it’s got absolutely nothing at all to do with Trevor Bauer being good, but not elite.

      • Pete

        I have a question and I don’t care about Homer Bailey or contracts.

        Trevor Bauer has third lowest xFIP, in the AL, over seasons 2017-2019 (3.66), behind Chris Sale (2.64) and Justin Verlander (3.55). Behind Bauer, way behind, is Rick Porcello at 4.43. It would seem to me over this time period either Sale is the only elite pitcher in the AL or Bauer is among the three elite pitchers in this time period. Since 2016, Bauer is ranked 11th. I always have a hard time defining elite: what is the standard, what length of time? If Bauer is not elite over this time period, I suggest he is near elite and certainly better than good. Perhaps we can rate him, at minimum, as very good?

        You’re doing great work especially over the last couple of days and I appreciate it.

  4. citizen54

    Horrible trade by the Reds. Bauer is going to get an increase in salary to about $16MM in 2020 so it’s not even like he Reds are getting cost controlled production. They are giving up a Top 40 prospect for a little over a year’s control of a 3-4 WAR pitcher.

    Pitching wasn’t even a big concern for the Reds as they already have Gray, Castillo, Disco, Mahle and you certainly could have signed a FA for about the same amount as you are going to be paying Bauer anyways for the same production (see Dallas Keuchel) without giving up a trade chip.

    If you think Trammel wasn’t ever going to be good that’s fine but you certainly should be getting a lot more than what the Reds received for a top 40 prospect. Add in the fact that the Reds also gave up Puig, someone who they probably could have gotten at least a top 15 prospect and it’s difficult to fathom what the Reds were thinking.

    • LWblogger2

      I tend to agree with you here and I am generally not as critical of the front-office as many around here. I’m have doubts that he’s better than Castillo next year. He’s probably out #2 guy. If he had 2021 too, then maybe I could see this trade but not for 2 meaningless months and a maybe.

    • Grand Salami

      I don’t think it can be considered horrible without further time to see how it plays out. Bauer will probably end just over 4 WAR this year and last year was nearly 6. So 4 is more like his floor or at least his median rather than his ceiling next year.

      I think the Reds saw their top prospect becoming their #2 to #4 best prospect when next evals came out. They wanted to cash in on TT before the stock officially dropped. If they already had an offer from the A’s on Roark then it makes more sense why they’d make TT expendable.

      This offense was league worst and we saw what great pitching did. I like the trade, I like the move with the Dodgers better but that turned out much worse than most would have guessed. So who knows?

  5. Hanawi

    I’m come to the conclusion that most Reds fans would rather try to make the playoffs in 2020 than build a sustainable World Series contender for 2021-2025.

    Whatever your thoughts of what Trammell might become, the fact is that he had real value today. More than what the Reds got back for him. Just look at what the Padres thought of his value. Though, in true Reds’ fashion, his value is less today than it was at the start of the season. He alone should have been able to get Bauer with maybe a lower level guy thrown in the mix. Adding Moss and Puig makes it very one-sided.

    Even if they soured on Trammell, they could have probably gotten a long-term solution to the shortstop or catcher issue, which are much more concerning than starting pitcher for me.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      Believe it or not, It’s entirely possible that the Reds are trying to make the playoffs in 2020 AND trying to build a sustainable World Series contender for 2021-2025. Trading Trammell doesn’t suddenly somehow shut the window after 2020. The Reds still have a lot or really interesting/good young outfielders.

      • Hanawi

        Giving up 6 years of control of both Trammell and Moss for a guy who will leave after next year sure doesn’t point in that direction. Again, whether or not you believe in Trammell over the other guys, he had value that they could have turned into another piece at a weaker position (SS, C) for longer than just 2020.

      • Hanawi

        Actually, if the haul that the Padres gave up for him is any indication of his value, they could have turned him into multiple other pieces for the long-term.

      • Ghettotrout1

        I agree with Jeff. Scott Moss will probably turn out to be just some rando journeyman. And you can read it hear first I think Trammel is one of those prospects where the tools are always tantalizing but the results don’t ever show up. I’m not saying he totally flops but I don’t see him more than an average OF going forward. Now I know I’m going to get roasted for this but it reminds me a lot of Robert Stephenson his results never were really there but everyone always acted like he was the best thing since sliced bread.

  6. Pete

    Castillo: 5 innings, 73 pitches, no runs – masterful.

  7. CI3J

    I think a lot of how I feel about this trade depends on if they can sign Bauer and Wood to extensions and buy out their prime years. If they do that, and the rotation of Castillo/Bauer/Wood/Gray can stay together for the next 3-4 years, then they will give this team a chance to really make some noise, provided that they get the bats to go with them.

    Honestly, I think the offense as it currently stands is pretty good, it has just under-performed due to injuries/down years. But since the All-Star break, they are hitting like we thought they could. I would not be surprised to see this Reds team claw their way over .500 and stay there in the 2nd half of this season, in no small part because they now have 4 really, really good pitchers in their rotation (and some pretty solid #5 options too). I sincerely hope they trade Roark and Iglesias in the next 10 hours and get a few decent prospects in return, especially a SS and/or catcher, but this Bauer trade may end up being something like the Rolen trade, a trade that looks a little odd in the context of the current season but ends up paying dividends as the window to compete finally arrives next season.

    • LWblogger2

      Unfortunately Bauer has expressed his unwillingness to sign an extension, so I think the odds are very long that he’s here past 2020. That said, what people are failing to recognize is that of the Reds are out of it again in 2020, he’s a trade candidate.

      • Grand Salami

        And if they aren’t then he is a QO that may be A level.

  8. Don

    To go back to what allows this trade to occur taking into account the trade in Dec 2018 which was seeing the a lot of 1 year left players could bring it together and make a magically run. Puig, Kemp, Roark, Wood…..
    Seeing the magically run did not occur, it is time to move to 2020.

    This is the legacy of the trade and impact on 2020 assuming Reds to not flip Bauer today.

    Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs (in A+ all 2019), Josiah Gray(started 2019 in AA back in A ball, demoted twice), Trammel for Bauer and Kyle Farmer.

    I hope everyone agrees Bauer is a huge upgrade over a post injury Bailey.

    Reds get a #1 or #2 starter for 2020 that will get 31 starts, 180 to 200 innings and probably be about a 15 game winner for probably 18 to 20 mil in arbitration.
    The team now has 58 games to evaluate prospect outfielders to see if a something is needed for for 2020.

    Remember Ervin and Aquino (assuming he is brought up to MLB in 2019) will not have options coming out of Spring Training in 2020. They either stick with the MLB team or must be waived on a DFA and any team can sign them with no return to the Reds.

    If they fall flat on their face, go get Puig for $20 mil a year as a FA as that is what he will have cost anyway and let the prospects go.

    Without the trade the FO would not have data to know if AAA/AAAA prospects are OK for 2020 and have to decide if Puig is worth $18 to $20 mil a year and not have Bauer for 2020.

    FO has given themselves options for 2020 and a solid evaluation period for the OF prospects in 2019.

    If the owner wants to win every game possible every year which is what the track record shows as no tanking and full rebuild has occurred, this seems like a very smart move that does not really hurt in 2019 ( 1 or 2 wins at most) leaves options open for 2020 all for the cost of a maybe in 2021/2022.

    Maybe the FO knows that if they do not do something like be in the divisional lead race until the last weekend of 2020 or make the playoffs in 2020, then 2021 and 2022 will be someone else’s problem.

    At least they decided to decide something, which is a positive change.

  9. Klugo

    I don’t love it but the Reds FO must rather spend for an OF in FA than wait for Trammell. That’s all I can come up with and if they do that and hit a HR in FA, then this will look pretty good I guess.

  10. CI3J

    Roark traded to the A’s for Jameson Hannah. More outfield depth.

  11. Scott C

    I think this trade says more about what the Reds think of Van Meter and Ervin than it does Trammell. In today’s game our outfield of Winker, Senzel, and Van Meter accounted for seven hits and two walks, including a home run and a double. That is not bad output. I was at first put off by the trade but am warming up to it somewhat. I hate giving Moss up he was our #11 prospect but Packy Naughton is coming up close behind him. You have to give up something in order to get something.

  12. Michael E

    A bit of an overpay, given the 4-tool, and still young Trammell, but it’s become fairly obvious the ONE position of depth in the minors was OF.

    The Reds rotation have been below average or well below average something like 35 of the last 40 years. I am beyond excited they have a top 3 NL rotation RIGHT NOW and maybe that or better in 2020.

    Moss apparently has a lower ceiling, at least the bits I read from other places. I am sure Doug has details (I haven’t read it yet). Puig needed to be traded. Trammell should have gotten back a good young, controlled asset, but lets not kid ourselves, we wouldn’t have been able to trade Trammell straight up for Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker or Royce Lewis. He is right there with those guys, but not some “can’t miss” stud by any means. He should have gotten us a good young pitcher with years of control, but likely one just shy of SP1 ceiling, more like an SP3 with SP2 upside.

    I am fine with this trade, Puig was gone or be overpayed in 2020, Moss has low ceiling. Trammell is the variable, but I am fairly comfortable with the notion he won’t be a star, but more of a solid starting MLB OF’er, with one or two really good seasons that are outliers (easy stance as that is the norm for such a prospect).

    If he becomes Mike Trout, Christian Yelich or Mookie Betts, yeah, this deal sucked, but chances are incredibly slim. Keeping him and sending a lesser prospect would have been better, maybe one that K’s more (all or nothing), but I am okay with this.

    The SINGLE concern with Bauer is will he be mature and collected enough to be a plus for the Reds TEAM?

    Let’s also remember, we have a VERY good pitching coach and I am excited to see if Bauer takes that next small step with some tweaks to actually make Castillo our #2 starter…that would be a nasty rotation this year and next year.

  13. Eddiek957

    Van Meter Ervin and Jose P need some at bats. I just sorry we couldn’t trade our shortstop. What did we get for scooter?

  14. Larry Baker

    If this trade now makes the Reds a potential playoff/championship in 2020 with strong pitching, we should see a winning records in the remaining 2019 games. Should have a season ending record this year that matches the 2019 playoff teams. Might not make the playoffs this year. If we now have this great pitching, we should be able to close down on the number of games behind. This will be a test run. Time to find out if the Reds have the talent to be a playoff team in 2020. Show and tell time. If the Reds continue to lose games with this potential 2020 playoff pitching staff, they need to make the adjustments with trades/free agents to solve the losing record problem. Not calling this pitching staff a playoff staff yet. Potential is great, winning action on the playing field is better. Will be interesting to see how this works out.

  15. Sandman

    Anybody else feel that Williams saying that sometimes you gotta take a chance is his way of kinda justifying not getting more for Puig?

    • Sandman

      Well, I think it was Bell who said that. Either way, question still stands…just switch out Williams for Bell.

  16. Frank

    I read a lot of sceptisicm, but I kinda like this trade.
    Bauer is more than a decent pitcher, and you have him for 2020 too.

    Trammel was good, but still a prospect, dealing away Roark for Hannah, more or less replaced Trammel with Hannah and than Bauer for Roark.

    The 2020 free agent pitching market is thin, and luckily the reds have them right where they wood to. Hopefully they can resign Wood.

    I like Vanmeter a lot, and think he is legit. He can play second and or outfield. Also Philip Ervin is showing some very nice batting skills.

    Don’t get me wrong. i absolutely love watching Puig in a reds uni, but we have some nice outfielder for a very affordable price.

    2020 should be fun to watch, and even this season isn’t over. Ok I might be overly optimistic, but the brewers and cubs cardinals aren’t really running away with it either.

    One good stretch, and some positive mindset and you’re back in the race.

    (ok now I will take of my pink glasses)

    Just my two cents from the other side of the world (Amsterdam)

  17. Robert Strong

    Bauer has a career 3.79 ERA and a 4.26 in his last 15 starts. Hardly what I would call an ace pitcher and his last act as an Indian was throwing the ball over centerfield wall. At least Trammell was exciting to watch play! And again, if you can’t score runs, you can’t win. We have trouble scoring runs. And even when we have a starting pitcher, who gives us a lead, our relievers screw it up. We gave up a guy in Trammell we could have for a while, for a guy we rent for 1 year. How is that good decision making? Especially a guy who is electrifying on the bases and can generate runs. Look what we keep doing as an organization, we give up our best players they go to other teams and we are continuously being told we are building for our future. That has been the case for the last 20 years. Look at the track record. You can’t deny that our front office has not been communicated to winning? How is this trade any different than what we have done in the past 20 years?