Yasiel Puig Trade is Part of the Master Plan, but Not the Plan You Wanted

The Dodgers traded away Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer in what many believe is the first step of a Master Plan toward acquiring a huge free agent, such as Bryce Harper or A.J. Pollock.

Oh, it’s a Master Plan, alright. It’s just not the one you’re imagining.

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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48 thoughts on “Yasiel Puig Trade is Part of the Master Plan, but Not the Plan You Wanted

  1. Oy. A rough back to back post for this blog.

    First Scott’s context free hot take. Now Oscar’s self-conflicting conspiracy theory. Am I actually at the point where Package provides much more reason than those who run this blog?

    1. So you liked this trade Bluto? I don’t have an issue trading Puig and Kemp as long as you get something of value back. They got nothing in return. The richest team in baseball salary dumping and cutting payroll for no reason makes the franchise look really bad. Unless it’s a means to acquire. Bryce Harper.

      1. I agree with your final sentiment, which if you believe makes me wonder why you called it the worst trade in history. I’m still not sure they go after Harper, they seem very reluctant to add players on significant term. But it gives them flexibility to do additional moves. If it’s the means to any subsequent move that improves the team it’s a very good move. If it’s not, it’s a weird move unbecoming of a large market team.

        I fully understand it for the Dodgers. It makes sense. They clear surplus at OF (which they needed to do) and SP. They got rid of players who complained. They replenished a farm system which was somewhat depleted with recent trades.

        I don’t understand it at all for the Reds. They get three players who can leave in a year, give up two prospects for what? A better chance at 4th place?

        If I understand something, then it makes sense. It’s not the worst, I’m not even sure it’s bad.

        1. We could have gotten more. I think that’s the point.

          I don’t know why we are hanging on to all these catchers if we are going after a catcher from the outside.

          I have a different take than Scott. I think this was a locker room move and a clear signal that the every position player needs to buy into platooning.

          We went under the luxury tax threshold to reset last year and didn’t need this deal to sign Harper (and I still don’t think they’ll sign a $300 million FA). And dumping Puig, Wood and Farmer just to get rid of Kemp’s one year expiring contract? Yeah right. Puig or Wood plus Farmer would have needed us two middling prospects whose equivalent could have been gotten via waiver wire pickups.

      2. We don’t NEED Bryce Harper. We need a solid right handed bat (or 2!) in the lineup. Left handed pitchers kept the Dodgers quiet last year. Let some other suckers pay Harper’s freight. We’ve got a key bullpen piece. We need a right hand bat that can scare lefty pitching. If that’s Pollack, OK. If not, someone (or 2!). And a right handed #3 for the rotation.

  2. I have now had 24 hours to digest the trade, read all the blogs and stories on the internet, listen to Friedman’s interview and form somewhat of an opinion. As a baseball trade, this is a horrendous trade. It is very one sided towards the Reds as they got better immediately. They added 40 plus homers and 160 RBI’s and a solid # 3 pitcher, and a guy with a penchant for dramatic hits off the bench who is also a very versatile player, plus 7 million bucks. The Dodgers got a starting pitcher who is owed about 25 million over the next 2 years, and 2 prospects, 1 of whom was placed in the Dodgers top 30 prospects list immediately. They in actuality got about 16 million in CBT space, and they released Bailey about 2 hours after the trade was finalized. So, they traded 4 solid players, 7 million dollars for 2 kids and CBT space. As a baseball trade, terrible. As a salary dump, it is what it is, room to maneuver just a little. Rumors began flying as soon as the deal was announced that this was so they could have room to sign Harper. It did clear space so they could announce the Kelly signing. Here is the rub in that. Considering that Harper is going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 million plus a year for the length of the contract, that puts them over the CBT again, with really no cash to spend on the holes they still will have in the bullpen, at catcher, and at second base. I debunk the theory that signing Harper automatically makes them the series favorite because although he makes the offense a little better, he is not that great a defender, and the offense, which still is weak against LHP, is now way too LH heavy. I think they would like to have Harper, but only on their terms. That would mean, less than a 10 year deal. They are not pursuing Machado at all. So, my theory is that this is what they will try to accomplish before spring. They are hot on Kluber’s trail because they still have decent prospects to trade. And they are also in hot pursuit of Realmuto. Rumors of interest in Pollock continue also. And a trade with the Tigers for Castellanos has also been discussed. And to some of you it might be distressing to know that Verdugo as trade bait is NOT off the table. Story this morning is that the Kluber talks have heated up again. It was obvious to me since the end of the year that Kemp would not be a Dodger next season, so him being in the trade was no surprise. Neither was the inclusion of Wood because I felt with all the LH starters that they have, he was a redundant piece. Farmer deserves a spot to show what he actually can do and the Reds will give him that opportunity. Being they train in Arizona, Dodger fans can see his progress. That brings us to the Wild Horse. One thing the trade has proved to me is that despite all the bad press and antics over the years, Dodger fans actually have a soft spot in their hearts for Puig. They also realize that he is a premier defender, somewhat enigmatic, and always unpredictable, and by far, the most exciting player on a team that is filled mostly with ho-hum players. The biggest personality, and the most enjoyable to watch. I believe he will be missed a lot more than Friedman realizes. And, he will be a free agent next winter, so I can see him signing with another western division team and coming back at some time to taunt and haunt Ol Andy. In the end, you really need to wait until all the pieces are in place come spring training to judge this deal. What do they add between now and then? That will be the 2019 version of the Dodgers. Then and only then will we know whether this trade is awful, or it made total sense.

  3. Simple addition thru subtraction, we’re talking about clubhouse and payroll cancers plus tens of millions of dollars freed up to be applied more effectively
    Dodger fan since 1962

  4. Simple addition thru subtraction, we’re talking about clubhouse and payroll cancers plus millions of dollars freed up to be applied more effectively.
    Dodger fan since 1962

    1. Just who do you consider a club house cancer? Puig was a model citizen, and Kemp never said a word even after Roberts started benching him. And believe it or not, they only freed up 16 million, and if they signed Harper they would be over the CBT again. They may not have liked the platoon system that Roberts used, and who can blame them for that. But I never read not one negative quote from anyone who was traded and no negativity at all until that story about Puig distrusting management came out in November. So it is all BS to me. Dodger fan since 1954.

          1. WTF are you talking about? Who are sleazy?

            Of course, it’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing. Get rid of those who aren’t happy.

            That’s my point!

            If you are arguing if they had a right to be upset. Sure, but in doing so the team felt they were adversely impacting the other players.

          2. I think it was blown out of proportion. Listening to vasseigh, and I think of anybody he would know since he’s around the players every day, Puig and Kemp weren’t huge complainers. Wood was the big biggest and Puig and Kemp moderately gripped about not getting enough playing time. Which is understandable.

            But that’s not why those guys were moved. It was because of the dollars and roster space. Friedman is a small market guy running the largest market team in MLB. This is how he runs his clubs. Unfortunately it causes some issues with how the club should be run. A little more balance can help. If their only plan is dumping salary and then hoping someone makes them a viable trade then that’s pretty bad. Salary dumping and hope is a horrible offseasons plan for the richest team in baseball.

          3. There is a lot of truth to that Scott. All Guggenheim cares about is profit, they care less about winning championships and they have the perfect foil in Andy. They made over 1/2 Billion in profits last year, and that is with over 50& of their fans unable to see games. Money grubbers for sure.

          4. I don’t know have Vassegh gets more credibility than another reporter. The fact is that Vassegh is highly partial to the Dodgers.

            Plunkett is a good reporter, I’ll take him seven days out of the week as more impartial and on the nose than a guy who works for the Dodgers radio station.

            But you and I agree Scott, if this is the only move the front office makes then it’s a move that is unbecoming of them. Somehow I doubt it will be the only move (and I suspect you do too.)

        1. So they bitched about not playing everyday. That is not being a model citizen? Bull, neither one said a word during the season. At least you never read about it. Matt Kemp played his ass off and was rewarded with the bench the first time he went through a down trend. Never did get back in the everyday lineup and he carried the team the first two months. Total BS and disrespect. Puig did not hit LH well. Why>? Part of the problem was not getting consistent at bats against them. You play everyday, you usually improve weak spots. When Kike was finally playing somewhat regularly, he raised his average to a respectable level. Kemp, who’s average was well over .300 for most of the first half, spiraled all the way down to .280, but he lifted it back to .290 over the last 4 weeks of the season. I think writers write that crap to stir the pot. Kemp may have been more vocal after the season, but who could blame him? Puig, he was smiling every day, working his butt off. He also had a decent season and was the only Dodger to hit 3 homers in a game. Last Dodger to do that was Corey Seager a couple of years ago. Ty Cobb was a total asshole, but he was still one of the greatest players ever. If he was playing today, he would be totally roasted because he was such a huge racist. Puig said nothing until after the season, and then all he said was that he did not trust the management. What’s wrong with that? I worked for a company back in the early 2000’s and I did not trust management at all. Why? They played favorites. As for Kemp, they had been trying to trade him since they got him. And they traded both of those guys for a guy who was released 2 hours after the trade was finalized. There is not one bit of rationality in that except they wanted payroll flexibility. They took on Baileys 25 million, and got rid of right at 40 creating a 16 million dollar addition. So everyone immediately assumes that they are going to sign Harper, but wait a minute, they sign Harper and it puts them back over the TAX!!!! You want to know what kind of citizens Puig and Kemp are? Read their good bye notices they posted on social media. Both a lot more classy than you trashing on their memories. Also huge bull is you saying their remarks were impacting other players. There is absolutely no proof of that what so ever. It is your opinion and that is all.

          1. This is a moronic post by Michael.

            Totally inane.

            Nobody should care about the players “bitching” to the press, everybody should care about players complaining in the clubhouse and creating a poor atmosphere.

            How do you know Puig didn’t complain to Roberts, to management to other players?

            You don’t, so don’t state that silliness.

          2. Neither do you wise ass. You know next to nothing about what goes on in the clubhouse, but you constantly think you know it all. There are no direct reports that Puig complained to anyone, and if he complained about playing time that does not make him nor Kemp BAD CITIZENS. It makes them players who want to play and there is nothing wrong with that. If they were such bad guys they would have taken the opportunity to blast the team after the trade, but both took to the media and thanked the fans and the team. The only silly ass on here is you spouting crap you know nothing about You show me one shred of evidence outside of Puig saying he distrusted the front office after the season, and I will retract what I said. But you can’t. You state shit that has no basis in fact. If it was a fact, I might agree with you, but you are the only one on this post spouting that stuff. There has to be a reason for that being the case. We all read most all the things written about the Dodgers. Everything is a rumor until facts are stated. You have no facts to back up your asinine statement, so who is silly now? And who in the hell are you to judge what is moronic or not? You some sort of blog police? Kiss it brother.

          3. In case you didn’t read it the first time:

            https://twitter.com/billplunkettocr/status/1076242980082597888

            That’s not made up. That’s not my opinion. I don’t have an opinion.

            That’s a guy who knows a boatload more about the team than you or I, reporting on what he knows.

            You can create your own reality where it’s just “Kemp wanting to play.”

            You can say it’s not fact, it’s only a reporter’s opinion. But it’s worth much more than your daydreams, because reporters report, they report what they are told or know.

            That’s way closer to reality than your opinion or mine.

            Have a nice holiday.

          4. I read that little blurb on twitter Bluto. You base everything on a 3 line post from twitter? Sorry. I need something a little more substantial with details like a story in a news paper perhaps? I read every day how Bryce Harper is coming to the Dodgers. But until someone like Rosenthal writes it, I am not drinking the cool aid. Yep, they were probably vocal and unhappy. You would be too.

          5. I agree with you on Harper, unless it’s for a very short term deal I don’t see him as a Dodger.

            I’d LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see it though.

            I’m interested in what moves follow the Puig trade though. Don’t put all your eggs in the Harper basket is a good protocol.

  5. I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Looks to be that the focus right now is on Kluber. Multiple reports to that effect. Also most reports have the Dodgers leaning towards getting a RH bat, NOT HARPER. Castellano’s and Pollock at the front of those discussions. And, if they get Kluber, Verdugo is most likely part of the deal more than Joc.

    1. Michael, I wish you and all here or not here a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I totally agree with what you really indicated here:
      “Puig did not hit LH well. Why>? Part of the problem was not getting consistent at bats against them. You play everyday, you usually improve weak spots. When Kike was finally playing somewhat regularly, he raised his average to a respectable level. Kemp, who’s average was well over .300 for most of the first half, spiraled all the way down to .280, but he lifted it back to .290 over the last 4 weeks of the season”
      That says it all because if you can remember Vinny saying this many times before…”Ya can’t play if ya don’t play”.. and that is the point of why I am not and did not like this obsessive compulsive disorder with platooning. It stunk to high heaven! If Dodgers ever want to get back to the WS and actually win it, they best change their game and lineups approach. If nothing else is done, and even if they got Castellanos, this team as it stands will be vulnerable to LHP amnd guess what folks, Dodgers will open the 2019 season seeing as many LHP as other teams can throw at them..stay tuned. As for this trade, on the surface it stinks.

      1. Same to you my friend. Let us hope 2019 at least has a World Series win in it. 60 years since they won their first in LA> It would be a fitting anniversary gift to the fans.

  6. The biggest thing that’s causing problems with clubhouse morale is the platooning system. Not every team does it to the stupid extent we have, batting below Mendoza line players consistently and then getting screwed over when the other team goes to their bullpen early.

    Anyways I’m hoping for a change in style of play first before looking at any FA as a potential savior. Dodgers Stadium is not kind to FA sluggers; we need a few decent everyday hitters who are capable of situational hitting. Harper at even $250 million will be horrible here, and those who are wanting this and yet were crapping all over AGon are total hypocrites.

    1. Yueh, Have you ever looked up Harper’s stats at Dodger Stadium? He is down there close to the Mendoza line. Has not hit for much power there either. Both Stanton and Goldschmidt have much better career stats at LA.

    1. He is what he is. He is not a bad guy, he just thinks his opines are the end all know all. I really have no problem with him as a person. I just think his take is asinine since there is no proof to back it up. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you also.

  7. The trade is what it is. They did what they thought was right and whether any of those guys was complaining or not, it was not the reason for the trade. Kemp they have been trying to dump no matter what since he was acquired. Wood complained the first time he went to the pen, and did not like it any better this time. But he was a disposable part. He was redundant since they obviously value Ferguson and Urias more. As for Puig, I think he was genuinely wary of the management and did not trust them, especially since every trade rumor had his name attached. They just finally pulled the trigger on a deal. They did not get equal value in return. To most fans, it was a giveaway pure and simple. A salary dump. It gave them some wiggle room under the cap, but I think what really ticked people off was the fact that for what they gave away, they ate 25 million dollars. They could have just released Kemp, non tendered Wood and accomplished the same thing. The would eat some money. This way they just make it look good on paper. As far as what Plunkett wrote, he wrote that after the season was over. You heard none of this during the season. I watched every game. I watched the players, heard the interviews, and read every report coming out in the news and on different blogs. Not one mentioned any dissention by Puig or anyone else until after the World Series. If there was a problem, why did they not correct it in season? They had plenty of opportunity to dump Puig and Wood by the trade deadline. Kemp would have been harder to move because he was playing so well and the fans would have been pissed to see Matt go. But for the second time, supposedly, Friedman deals Kemp away because he is a club house cancer…yet none of that surfaced or was even discussed during the season. All we know is that the Dodgers have 3 open roster spots on the 40 man. After trading 4 players, they still have the same holes they had previous to the trade. There are more questions than answers. And nobody on this site or any other, including the writers knows why Friedman did this deal. He has his plan, we have to trust in that. But it seems like it is the same old song every winter. We are going after impact players and they fall short time and time again. Signing Harper fixes nothing. Filling the holes will make the Dodgers better.

  8. Michael I think you are too kind to Brutus. Brutus has continually shown that he is a narcissistic a**hole. Brutus is always asking for proof of whatever someone disagrees with him, I offer all of Brutus posts as evidence that he is an asshole that very much loves being an asshole. I would love to see Brutus stay consistently on a website where he fits in, like Mo and Lesters site would be a good fit, one of the largest narcissist runs that site. Good riddance Brutus, don’t let the door hit you in your asshole on the way out.

      1. Shut up, moron, nice try to cover your narcissistic view. You are an ahole and you know it, so don’t even try to come off sincere. Go to your Pedro Phile site and join the aholes over there, birds of a feather are aholes together. You have no original takes, all you can do is post other peoples opinions. FN awipe, geez.

        1. Well, I tried deliberately to not insult you directly Michael.

          I quite enjoy your opinions, although they are greatly different than my own perspective.

          If describing the opinions as moronic or inane were beyond the line, then I will try not to do it again.

          1. The difference is what makes each individual unique. I liked building the team from the farm system and adding the pieces that were needed along the way. I also realize it is a lot harder now to get to the big dance and win it than it was when I was younger. I have seen 6 Dodger Championships. The 59 and 88 teams were not expected to win the series. In all reality, most of them went into the series as underdogs. I think that’s what made them special. I do not, and have been pretty vocal about it, like the way Friedman works. You can never convince me that he has anything less than a small market mentality.

          2. I dunno Michael. It looks like Friedman is trying to build the team internally and supplement only with Free Agents.

            Buehler, Urias, Seager, bellinger, strpling, Santana, verdugo, Peterson, Ferguson.

            No?

          3. Yes Bluto, he has a few home grown pieces. You missed Kershaw, Jansen. But how many of those guys you listed were here before Andy took over? By my count only Buehler and Ferguson are his draftees. He is playing with borrowed money right now. But I do give him credit that so far he has not traded the brightest gems away. His trades have netted a few good pieces, and some not so good. He has never, and this is why I think Harper is not coming to the Dodgers, given any free agent, except his own, more than a 5 year deal, and NONE have been signed to 9 figure contracts. That’s fact, not fiction. The only player making 30 million is Kershaw. His international signings have been less than stellar. He constantly looks for high reward low cost players for his bullpen and backups. He values versatility, which can be both a blessing and a curse to the player who is good that way. it is part of the reason the Dodgers platoon players so much and rarely run the same lineup out there 2 nights in a row. And to many fans that’s the rub. Maybe not you, but to a lot of us platooning players is not the way to win the big one. Having 5 good starters is nice. But having 3 top dogs in the rotation and a very good 4th guy is what wins. That’s how Houston beat them. Plus the fact that unlike the Dodger pen, they actually shut down the opposition. Same with Boston this year. That and their consistent offense hammered the Dodgers in 4. Friedman has an also ran mentality. Bavasi was by far a better GM than Andy has ever been. Hell, even Fred Claire was the GM of a Championship team.

  9. Well True, Bluto is entitled to his opinion as we all are. Sometimes we agree, others we do not. He believes what he read about them being disruptive to the clubhouse and that’s why the trade was made. He read it from a reliable source. Me, I tend to not base what I say on a single story. I never, not once during the season read a single article that said any of those guys were complaining to anyone about playing time. When Wood first got sent to the bullpen, Orel mentioned that Wood considered himself a starter and was out to prove that to be the case. So there are always 2 sides to the story. The only thing I take issue with is him deciding that what I posted was moronic. That’s his opinion. But we went through this stuff when Kemp was traded the first time. Everyone piled on and said Kemp was a clubhouse cancer and that’s why he was traded. He had problems with his team mates. Hanley was the same thing, clubhouse cancer, disruptive. What I remember is that Kemp was pretty vocal in the media about not playing center field. Matt wanted to be the old Matt. And like any elite athlete he did not realize how much his injuries had slowed him down. His ankle surgery basically took away that speed he had when he first came up. A lot of people forget that he stole 40 bases in 2011. How many outfielders on the Dodgers have even come close to that total since? NONE! He was tearing up the league before the injury, and has not been the same player since. But, he still could hit. In my mind, Matt would be a excellent DH. But he came into spring last year in the best shape of the last few years. He had something to prove, and he did it. He slumped for a while after the all star break and in the tradition of Dave Roberts managed teams was then strictly a platoon player the rest of the way. All I have read says Kemp could not hit lefty’s. I do not know where they got that. He hit .273 against them with a slugging percentage over .500. What ever the reasons for the trade, I do not believe the main reason was because these 3 guys disrupted the clubhouse. Never heard a peep about that the entire season. As a matter of fact all the stories I heard were that the Dodger clubhouse was very loose and the players really liked each other. had those 3 guys been disruptive, that would not have been the case. Maybe what the Dodgers need to win a series is a little animosity in the club house. Those A’s teams of the 70s and Billy Martins Yankees did not get along much at all. Have a Merry Christmas my friend.

  10. What 50%??? The stuff that says Friedman is doing ok? Do not be fooled. I still think he is lousy. He has never netted an impact player that has stayed with the Dodgers. You might say Hill, but I do not consider him an impact player. No pitcher is unless he is an ace and a consistent Cy Young candidate.

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