CLEVELAND — The Indians added some power — and a little punch — for their playoff push.
Still chasing the homer-happy Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, Cleveland traded temperamental starter Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday in a three-team deal that landed the Indians two big bats to fill their power void — Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes.
The Indians, who have cut first-place Minnesota’s lead from 11½ games to three but haven’t had a legitimate cleanup hitter all season, dealt Bauer to the Reds for Puig and left-hander Scott Moss. The Indians also acquired the hard-hitting Reyes, lefty Logan Allen and infield prospect Victor Nova from San Diego. The Padres acquired outfielder Taylor Trammel from the Reds.
The three teams agreed to the seven-player swap Tuesday, but medical reports didn’t get approval until just hours before the trade deadline.
When it was done, the Indians felt good about their present and future.
“We acquired a number of players that will not only impact our Major League team this year, but also have a chance to impact our team for years to come,” said Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations. “That was a motivating factor behind that trade and we feel good about what’s in front of us and feel good about our team heading into the balance of the 2019 season and heading into 2020.”
Puig, who literally left Cincinnati swinging following another brawl with the Pirates on Tuesday night, and Reyes have 49 combined homers this season. They’ll give manager Terry Francona some additional lineup options as well as a needed power surge.
“The people in San Diego are devastated,” Francona said, referring to the 24-year-old Reyes, who has 27 homers this season. “Everybody said we’re getting a man in every sense of the word, and I think with Puig, a lot of people feel like we’re going to get the two best months of his career. I hope that’s the case. Genuinely excited about getting to know these guys and turn them loose.”
Bauer’s exit was nearly as stunning as his final start for Cleveland.
His trade was completed three days after the quirky right-hander with undeniable talent along with a difficult side, angrily threw a ball from behind the mound over the center-field wall in Kansas City. Bauer called the act “childish” and was fined by Major League Baseball. It may have been the final straw for the Indians, who managed to get back five players to help in their playoff push and beyond.
Francona said his last meeting with Bauer was “pretty short” and intimated it brought him relief.
“Sometimes it’s emotional and sometimes it’s not quite as emotional,” he said. “That’s just being honest.”
Francona also acknowledged he was concerned about long-term effects within the team following Bauer’s tantrum.