A young, fast power hitter, Daniels hit .334 with 26 HR and 26 stolen bases in 1987 despite spending a month on the DL, and in 1988 he started in left field for the Reds and led the NL in on-base percentage. Often temperamental, Daniels was suspended briefly in September 1988 for throwing a bat into the dugout. The erratic fielder missed most of 1989 with a variety of physical problems, and in midseason he was traded to the Dodgers with Lenny Harris for Tim Leary and Mariano Duncan. Only 25, he had his sixth knee operation near the end of the 1989 season.
In his first full year with the Dodgers, Daniels set career highs with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs, but his numbers dropped precipitously the following season, and in June 1992 he was shipped to the Cubs for a player to be named.