The Los Angeles Dodgers have potentially opened up a roster spot for the free agent Bryce Harper with their blockbuster trade involving the Cincinnati Reds.
This past Friday, the Dodgers completed a trade with the Reds that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer and $7 million in cash to the Reds for Homer Bailey and two minor-league prospects.
More importantly, the Dodgers acquired an outfield spot and financial flexibility with this trade. They saved approximately $17.5 million towards their 2019 payroll. Which now gives them more space to go out and spend on free agents.
With the money that the Dodgers are now saving, they're now in a better position to make a serious play for Harper. He is reportedly seeking around a ten-year deal worth about $30 million per season.
This would absolutely put the Dodgers over the $206 million luxury-tax threshold for the 2019 season. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, after this trade with the Reds, the Dodgers payroll is expected to be positioned just over $180 million.
The Dodgers were just able to finish the 2018 season under the luxury-tax threshold for the first time since 2012. However, they also have about $40 million coming off their books after next season.
So if the Dodgers were to sign Harper, then they would likely only be over the threshold for just one season. But it's seeming more likely they would be in favor of that decision, given this latest trade clearing space for more spending.
Along with needing financial flexibility, the Dodgers also needed to clear out their crowded outfield before pursuing Harper. Moving Kemp and Puig opens up a potential spot for Harper.
The Dodgers could now have a possible outfield that consists of Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, and Harper. This would give the Dodgers a substantial upgrade over both Kemp and Puig combined.
The 26-year-old produced career high's last season in RBI's and walks. Last season was also the closest he has looked to performing similar to his 2015 season when he won the NL MVP. During that season he recorded 42 home-runs, 99 RBI's, .330 batting average along with a 1.109 OPS.
Harper produced 34 home runs and 100 RBI's last season, but only recorded a .249 batting average. If he was able to produce similar numbers like that with the Dodgers next season, then they would have no problem staying over the luxury-tax threshold for one season.
What This Means
This deal with the Reds indicates that the Dodgers are definitely deciding at making a run for Harper, which would be very beneficial for them on offense and defense. Harper would provide them with an upgrade at the plate and out in the field.
He will likely cause them to go over the luxury-tax threshold, but he's definitely worth going over that for just one season. This is a team that has gone to back-to-back World Series and has lost both of them. They need that player who can take them to that next level, and Harper could do just that.