It’s not only a hugely impactful move in relation to their roster depth, but is extremely consequential in terms of their payroll.
The Dodgers are sending about $42 million of guaranteed money to the Reds while taking on about $28 million in new obligations.
The Dodgers are also expected to trim about $16 million in terms of the luxury tax, so this could very well be setting up a big acquisition in the near future.
Depth is a good problem to have, but this move certainly opens up some opportunities for players on the current roster to have a bit more of a defined role.
The rotation was inevitably going to leave a capable person on the outside looking in, just because there were so many viable options.
The outfield was similarly crowded, and moving Kemp and Puig is going to open up more opportunities for other guys.
Taylor and Hernandez are the right-handed hitters in that group, while the other guys in are left-handed hitters.
Both Taylor and Hernandez can play second base as well, so they’re both going to see time in the infield along with any outfield duties.
With Max Muncy the left-handed hitting option at first base, Bellinger is probably going to be primarily playing the outfield next season.
Pederson can remain the lefty-hitter in left field when the team faces right-handed pitchers, while a right-handed hitter like Taylor can get starts in left against lefty pitchers.
Taylor and Hernandez would both get starts at second base against righty pitchers when guys like Bellinger and Pederson got starts in the outfield in those situations.
Verdugo and Toles are also going to get more opportunities as a result of two fewer outfielders that they would have had to compete for playing time with.
The potential addition of Bryce Harper to that group would give the team an elite left-handed hitter to pencil into the lineup in right field every day.
Pederson, Bellinger, and Harper would then presumably be the starting outfield against right-handed starting pitchers.
The configuration of the outfield against lefty pitchers would be a bit more complicated, though, because if Taylor and Hernandez join Harper in the outfield, it would leave an opening at second base.
Brian Dozier is a free agent, and he was the guy who typically got starts at second base at the end of last season when both Taylor and Hernandez were in the outfield.
If Hernandez or Taylor plays second base against a righty, that could open up an opportunity in either left or center field for a guy who can hit well against lefties.
Harper would certainly fit into this lineup now that two of their right field options last season, Puig and Kemp, are no longer on the roster.
Clearing all that salary seems like it could be an obvious sign that they’re preparing to make a big offer to try to lure Harper.
It’d be hard to argue that the Dodgers wouldn’t be the presumptive favorites to once again represent the NL in the World Series next season if they’re able to acquire Harper.