The Dodgers and Reds made a big trade Friday, with Cincinnati acquiring outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp and left-handed starting pitcher Alex Wood in exchange for veteran righty Homer Bailey and prospects.
Two Phillies-related angles to this.
First, it sets the Dodgers up better for a pursuit of free agent Bryce Harper, who has been connected to them this offseason. This obviously frees up room in the outfield.
Second, it’s another National League cellar dweller (in addition to the Mets) improving for 2019. The Reds won 67 games last season, but this trio should help them get closer to the mid-70s. Puig is still a productive, unique player. The last two seasons, his .827 OPS is 19 percent better than the league average.
Wood is still a solid lefty starter, the kind of pitcher who would have helped the Phillies, quite frankly. In 304 innings the last two seasons, Wood had a 3.20 ERA.
The additions of the Mets and Reds, as of this moment, push them closer to the Phillies than the Phils are to the upper echelon teams in the NL.
This move does not free up much money for the Dodgers. They will still be about $25 million under the luxury tax, which is around $206 million for the 2019 season. Signing Harper would unquestionably push them over the tax, but he’s a player you make financial exceptions for.
The Dodgers may not be as much a competitor for Harper as the Yankees are for Manny Machado, but it’s certainly not a good sign for the Phillies that two other rich teams are setting themselves up to land one of the mega stars.
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