Baseball Roundup: Dodgers Trade Puig, Kemp and Wood to the Reds

Baseball Roundup: Dodgers Trade Puig, Kemp and Wood to the Reds

The Los Angeles Dodgers shook up their pennant-winning roster on Friday, trading outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp plus the left-handed pitcher Alex Wood and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for the right-hander Homer Bailey, who threw a pair of no-hitters before three major arm operations sidetracked his career.

The Dodgers also got two minor leaguers, Jeter Downs and the right-hander Josiah Gray.

“We still have resources to make this team better — we’re not done yet,” said Dick Williams, the Reds’ president of baseball operations. “We did trade some good prospects here, but we acquired four major league players that address needs for us, and I think we’re better in the short-term.”

Last week, the Reds, who finished 67-95 last season, traded a pitching prospect, Tanner Rainey, to the Nationals for Tanner Roark, a 32-year-old starter who led the National League in losses last season while going 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA.

Cincinnati didn’t know what to do with Bailey, who was 1-14 last season with a 6.09 E.R.A. and resisted a move to the bullpen. He has one year left on his contract and is owed $28 million.

Wood, 27, gives the Reds another upgrade to their young rotation, which has been their biggest weakness the last two seasons. Wood was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 2017, going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He was 9-7 last season with a 3.68 ERA in 27 starts and six relief appearances.

The Reds’ outfield was in flux when they chose not to offer a contract to Billy Hamilton, making him a free agent. Puig, 28, a dynamic but erratic player, hit .267 last season with 23 homers, 21 doubles and 63 runs batted in. He is in the final year of a seven-year, $42 million deal.

Kemp, 34, batted .290 with 25 doubles, 21 homers and 85 RBIs last season, when he was an All-Star for the third time.

CARDINALS When healthy, Andrew Miller has been one of baseball’s top relievers. The St. Louis Cardinals are banking on a return to form.

Miller agreed to a $25 million, two-year contract with St. Louis that includes a club option and performance bonuses that could make the deal worth $36 million over three seasons.

Miller, a 6-foot-7 left-hander, has been dominant for much of this decade, but he went just 2-4 with a 4.24 E.R.A. in 37 games for Cleveland last season while dealing with hamstring, knee and shoulder injuries.

Miller will get $11 million next year and $11.5 million in 2020, and the deal includes a $12 million team option for 2021 with a $2.5 million buyout, The option would become guaranteed if Miller appears in 110 games as a pitcher in 2019 and ’20 combined.

He can earn $500,000 annually in performance bonuses based on games pitched: $100,000 each for 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60. He would get a $1 million assignment bonus each time he is traded.

Cleveland acquired Miller in a trade with the Yankees during the 2016 season, and Manager Terry Francona used him as a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in the American League Championship Series that year, and Cleveland made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series before losing to the Chicago Cubs. Miller appeared in 10 games that postseason, going 2-0 with a 1.40 E.R.A., 30 strikeouts and five walks.

Miller has been exclusively a reliever since 2012, and from 2014-17, he never posted an E.R.A. higher than 2.04.

The Cardinals went 88-74 this year but missed the postseason. They already made waves this month by making a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the slugger Paul Goldschmidt.

SALARIES The average major league salary dropped this year for the first time since 2004 and for only the fourth time since record-keeping started 50 years ago, according to the players’ association.

The union said Friday that its final average was $4,095,686, down $1,436 from $4,097,122 last year.

Since the union started keeping track in 1967, the only previous declines had been by $66 in 1987, when owners were found to have conspired to hold down salaries among free agents; a 4 percent decline in 1995 after a strike that wiped out the World Series for the first time since 1904; and by 2.5 percent in 2004.

This year’s survey was based on the 968 players on major league rosters and disabled lists on Aug. 31, the last day before the active player limit expanded from 25 to 40.

After years of strong growth, salaries have stagnated over the last three years.

An unusually slow free-agent market last off-season contributed to this year’s drop. Half of the 140 free agents who reached agreements completed the deals after the start of spring training workouts Feb. 14. Many of those deals involving veterans were for depressed prices.

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