Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig may have set a new standard for final impressions.
As he was lifted from his last start for the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, Bauer hurled a baseball over the center field fence in frustration. And in his last night in uniform for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, Puig brawled with the Pittsburgh Pirates, an act that could earn him a suspension.
These were Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig's final on-field moments before being traded. pic.twitter.com/wHwHCwsSmb
Bauer and Puig were key pieces of a trade on Tuesday night, though it was hardly a one-for-one swap. The Reds received Bauer only, but the Indians got Puig and four others: outfielder Franmil Reyes, pitcher Logan Allen and the infield/outfield prospect Victor Nova from the San Diego Padres and the Class AA left-hander Scott Moss from Cincinnati.
The Padres received Taylor Trammell, a Class AA outfielder considered one of baseball’s best prospects, from the Reds.
The teams did not announce the widely reported deal Tuesday, but Puig addressed it after the Reds’ game, an 11-4 Pirates win.
“I’m leaving a lot of love,” Puig said, according to MLB.com. “Now it’s time to move forward and go to my new team and help my team get to the playoffs.”
The trading deadline is Wednesday at 4 p.m., and baseball has eliminated the August waiver deadline, theoretically making the July deadline even more important. Yet the first two elite starters to change teams have gone to clubs with losing records: Marcus Stroman to the Mets (from Toronto) on Sunday and now Bauer to the Reds, who are 49-56. Both players are under club control through 2020.
Trading Bauer, who was 9-8 with a 3.79 earned run average while leading the majors in innings pitched, would seem like a curious move for the Indians, who lead the American League wild-card race as they seek their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. But the Indians were dealing from a strength to address a weakness.
Through Monday, Cleveland’s 3.75 staff E.R.A. ranked third-best in the majors, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. But the Indians were averaging only 4.66 runs per game — less than the major league average — and in Puig and Reyes, they added instant thump to their lineup: Puig has 22 home runs, and Reyes has 27.
The Indians also have rotation reinforcements on the way. Corey Kluber, the Indians’ two-time Cy Young Award winner, is scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game this weekend as he recovers from a broken forearm. Another right-hander, Danny Salazar, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, is scheduled to return this week.
In giving up Trammell, 21, the Reds may have paid a steep price for a year-plus of Bauer, who has said he intends to sign only one-year deals after he reaches free agency. Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com both ranked Trammell among the game’s top 20 prospects before this season. While he has hit only .236 at Class AA Chattanooga, Trammell had a solid on-base percentage (.350) with 17 stolen bases.
Tyler Kepner has been national baseball writer since 2010. He joined The Times in 2000 and covered the Mets for two seasons, then covered the Yankees from 2002 to 2009. @TylerKepner
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