On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, a major domino reportedly fell in the starting-pitching market.
Cleveland traded pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team deal that also included the San Diego Padres, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday. The Reds traded top prospect Taylor Trammell to the Padres, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, and Yasiel Puig reportedly was part of the package headed to Cleveland.
What we know:#Reds give up Taylor Trammell, Yasiel Puig; get Trevor Bauer.#Indians give up Bauer; get Puig, Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen.#Padres give up Reyes and Allen, get Trammell.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
Not known if other pieces involved.
Bauer's status as one of the best available starting pitchers ahead of the deadline has short-term ramifications for the Giants, while Trammell's reported inclusion in the deal could be a boon for their rivals in San Diego in the years to come.
With San Diego involved as a third team, Cleveland received an established pending unrestricted free agent (Puig), a 24-year-old slugger under team control for the next five seasons (Franmil Reyes) and a 22-year-old left-handed pitcher who is considered among the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Puig and Reyes give Cleveland, which is in the bottom half of the league in home runs, 49 additional dingers in its lineup. Had Puig and Reyes hit those homer for Cleveland rather than Cincinnati and San Diego, respectively, the AL wild card leaders would rank second in the majors.
Trade-deadline acquisitions aren't as simple as plugging-and-playing, but Cleveland's haul is a good one for a team that still is firmly in the hunt. The Indians entered the day three games up on the second wild card, and two games back in the division. The Giants, meanwhile, were 2.5 back of the second NL wild-card spot and 14 games back of the division before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies -- one of the teams ahead of them -- on Tuesday.
As ESPN's Buster Olney noted Tuesday, the contrast is even starker.
Two big buy/sell team decisions that loomed as day began: Indians, w Bauer and 75% chance to reach playoffs, and Giants/Bumgarner, and playoff chances at 8%, per Fangraphs. Bauer moves... SF still talking w multiple teams re Bumgarner— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2019
If Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi fancies his team a playoff contender, the Bauer return represents a strong baseline to sell on a player without necessarily giving up on the season. If he doesn't, a team's No. 7 prospect -- where Baseball America ranked Allen in San Diego's system -- could be considered an underwhelming centerpiece in return for one of the most accomplished postseason pitchers of his generation in Bumgarner.
A pending free agent like Puig wouldn't help the Giants much, either, although a young, established player of Reyes' caliber would give them a contributor for now and the future.
Of course, it's possible the Giants won't be able to match a Bauer return. Unlike Bauer, Bumgarner is not under team control past 2020, and him becoming an unrestricted free agent gives the Giants less leverage.
But no matter what Bauer's reported move means for Bumgarner's potential return, Trammell could have a bigger impact upon the Giants moving forward.
Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old Trammell as the Reds' top prospect earlier this month, and No. 41 in all of baseball. The No. 35 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft is slashing just .236/.350/.338 in Double-A this season, but Trammell is a five-tool prospect oozing with potential at the plate, on the basepaths and in the outfield corners.
The Padres have been active in the free-agent market in an effort to supplement their wave of prospects with established MLB talent, and Trammell could join Fernando Tatis Jr. as a centerpiece in San Diego if he can put his struggles this season behind him.
The Giants won't have to wait long to see how the trade affects any discussions regarding Bumgarner, as the 1 p.m. PT deadline on July 31 is fast approaching. What Trammell's time in San Diego means for San Francisco will require a lot more patience, but that doesn't mean it'll be any less impactful.