Who’s Coming Next? Harper? Realmuto?


No, Peggy, that is not all there is. Can’t be. I mean, the Dodgers aren’t going to trade Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati–Cincinnati?–for a pitcher they will soon release, two prospects and financial relief if there isn’t more coming.

Bryce Harper? That would be the obvious assumption, and there have been multiple reports that the Dodgers and Scott Boras have been negotiating various contract lengths, buy outs and dollars in an effort to make it happen short of one of those deadly 10 year deals and short of eclipsing the $206 million payroll level at which the luxury tax kicks in. Harper in LaLa Land? Seems only natural, and Magic can certainly find him a seat to watch LeBron.

Also, if not Harper (or in addition to him), the Dodgers could use there now fortified prospect list to trade for J.T. Realmuto, filling the catching void. Both prospects acquired from the Reds are legitimate. Infielder Jeter Downs, their No. 1 draft pick in 2017, stole 37 bases among attractive stats in A ball last season. Pitcher Josiah Gray was their second pick in last June’s draft and had a 0.88 WHIP in rookie ball. 

Puig and Kemp are both eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, and at worse, so to speak, if Harper doesn’t fill the right field void then the long touted Alex Verdugo might. The Dodgers have several position vacancies and several position options,  but it is safe to say that Puig will be missed for his valuable defense, colorful play (idiosyncratic play at times) and very productive post-season bat. Puig will be reunited in Cincinnati with his dugout kissing buddy, hitting coach Turner Ward, but it is difficult to figure why the Reds, still seemingly not ready to compete with the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, would want two veteran outfielders on the verge of free agency, giving up two prospects in the process.

(The Dodgers were not going to extend either Puig–when asked to evaluate Puig’s Dodger tenure, Andrew Friedman said, “that’s a very deep question– or Kemp, and here is a bit of trivia as pointed out by my friend Bill Shaikin: The next time someone says that this player or that player has an untradeable contract, tell them Kemp has now been traded four times with his untradeable contract, twice by the Dodgers alone.)

In the wake of this deal the Reds insisted they are not done, and there have been rumors they would use Puig in a deal for Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber or that Kluber might end up in L.A. as part of a three-way trade. That did no happen Friday, and is probably not going to happen now with the Dodgers eyeing Harper and/or Realmuto.