You know it's a wild night for a ballclub when one of your pitchers taking on an entire team in a brawl is the second-most interesting headline.
Amir Garrett just took on the ENTIRE Pittsburgh Pirates team. pic.twitter.com/PKlZe6ljb8— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) July 31, 2019
Shortly before Amir Garrett tried to fight the entire Pittsburgh Pirates roster in a moment that will live on in baseball infamy, the Reds actually put the NL Central on notice with a different move, acquiring Trevor Bauer from the Indians and trading away Yasiel Puig in a three-team deal.
The move is undoubtedly the most high-profile of the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline to date, as both Bauer and Puig are big names and talented players switching clubs. The San Diego Padres also got into the mix, dealing outfielder Franmil Reyes and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen to the Indians and acquiring Reds top prospect Taylor Trammell in return.
Bauer, 28, joins a much-improved Reds pitching staff after making his own headlines this week by chucking a ball over the centerfield fence when he was being taken out of a game in his final outing in Cleveland. The right-hander was in the running for the AL Cy Young last year before an injury and at the time of the trade this season, led the league in innings pitched (156.2) while boasting a 9-8 record, 3.79 ERA and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
He is under team control through the 2020 season, so it gives the Reds plenty of options. They can try to make a run for a playoff spot this year, but they currently sit 7.5 games out of first place in the NL Central and 6.5 out of the wild-card race with a 49-56 record. So they're most likely retooling for next season, though they could flip the MLB Trade Deadline on its head and turn around and deal Bauer to another club before 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Puig is a free agent after this season and has disappointed in his first year with the Reds. The 28-year-old enigmatic outfielder was hitting .255 with a .785 OPS and 22 homers at the time of the trade and shortly after the move was reported, he was out right out there alongside Garrett trying to fight the Pirates.
It's a savvy move by the Reds, trading away a short-term asset for a longer-term guy. But it had to be tough to part with Trammell, who ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus coming into the season.
Even if they don't make a push for the postseason this year, the Reds could still be a formidable spoiler down the stretch, with a rotation pairing Bauer alongside Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray and an offense that still features Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett.
That's bad news for the Cubs, who are already only 5-7 against the Reds this year and have to play them seven more times, including a trip to Cincinnati next weekend.