Dodgers trade Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood to Reds in massive payroll-clearing move: Things to know

The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded Matt Kemp, Yasiel PuigAlex Wood, Kyle Farmer and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for a package including Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. 

The Dodgers are clearing money under the luxury-tax threshold. Even though Bailey's salary and buyout will cost $28 million ($23 million for his salary, $5 million for buyout), the luxury-tax hit is just $17.5 million.

The two teams had been linked to a potential blockbuster deal for weeks, with many of the names from Friday's trade mentioned in multiple reports during this year's winter meetings.

Here are five more things to know about the trade:

Dodgers open door for a big splash

By managing to unload two of their most expensive outfielders, the Dodgers have cleared enough room in their outfield to potentially pursue free agent Bryce Harper, or other big name targets. The Dodgers are reportedly trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold again, and going after Harper will mean that the club will not be under. But maybe the Dodgers now will try to sign Harper, the best, most-expensive outfielder available in free agency. Incidentally, the Dodgers reportedly offered Puig to the Nationals for Harper in an August waiver trade last summer. 

Aside from Harper, L.A. can go after free-agent centerfielder A.J. Pollock, try to trade for one of the Cleveland Indians' starters (the Dodgers, Indians rumors have been going around for a while now), and/or try to snag J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins to fill their vacant catcher's spot.

Puig, Kemp get a change of scenery

Puig, 28, hit .267/.337/.490 last season with 23 homers and 63 RBI in 125 games. He's entering the final year of his contract and MLB Trade Rumors project he will make around $11 million through arbitration. It's worth noting the Reds hired former Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward this winter. He's known to have a healthy rapport with Puig. 

Kemp, 34, resurrected his career in his return to the Dodgers in 2018. A three-time All-Star, including last season, a two-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder, Kemp hit .290 with 25 doubles, 21 HR and 85 RBI. Kemp is due $21.75 million next season with the San Diego Padres paying $3.5 million of that.

Both players should see substantially more playing time than was to be expected if they remained with the Dodgers. The Reds see Puig as an everyday right fielder for them. Puig and Kemp are both eligible for free agency after the 2019 season.

Cincy might be going for it

"We're not done," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said after the trade was announced on Friday. "We still have resources to make this team better -- both in terms of prospects capital and financial wherewithal. We intend to continue to work throughout the offseason to improve the club. We did trade some good prospects here. But we acquired four major-league players that address needs for us and make us better in the short-term."

Williams also said that getting a starting pitcher in this trade was key.

"We were not going to do a deal without getting a starting pitcher back," Williams said. "And it's a bonus that he's left-handed. We didn't want to tip our hand and tell everyone that we needed a left-hander, but we did think it was important to get one in the mix for next year."

Wood, who will turn 28 in January, finished ninth in the National League Cy Young vote in 2017 but was made expendable because of the surplus of Dodgers starters last season. Last season, he went 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 27 starts and 6 relief appearances. Wood also has 26.1 innings of postseason pitching experience, having pitched for the Atlanta Braves in 2013 and Dodgers in 2015-18.

The additions of Puig and Kemp bolster Cincinnati's depth in the outfield, though neither Puig or Kemp played in center field last year. "We'll get to spring training and let the coaches sort that out," Williams said. "We've got a lot of offseason to go. We feel good about having multiple guys with the ability to play in center field."

The two outfielders can also add some pop to the Reds lineup, here's a possible one for next season:

Bailey won't be a Dodger for long

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that Bailey would be granted his release, a condition of waiving his 10-and-5 rights -- 10 years of service and five or more consecutive with the same team.

Bailey, 32, was the Reds' first pick (seventh overall) of the June 2004 first-year player draft. In 212 big-league starts, he went 67-77 with a 4.56 ERA and seven complete games. Unfortunately, Bailey has been injured, ineffective or both pretty much since 2016. He went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA for the last-place Reds last season.

SportsLine projects slight boost for Reds 

After the trade, Sportsline has the Reds no longer projected to finish with the worst record in the National League while the Dodgers projects were not hugely impacted. After the trade, the Reds are now projected to finish with 68.8 wins (a 3.7 percent increase) and the Dodgers are now projected to finish with 98.6 wins (a 0.1 percent increase). The Reds' chances of making the playoffs next season also increased after the trade, from 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent.

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