The offseason is going especially slow this year, with but a few trades and signings scattered throughout to keep us going. What the reason for it is, no one seems to know for sure. It could be the front offices are not really seeing anyone they really want to add to their team. It could just be that they are all waiting out the market.
One thing the slow winter has lead to is rumors, more specifically the rise of old ones you were hoping were dead by now. Over the weekend, a story came out of Boston that earlier in the offseason, the Dodgers had approached the Red Sox for a trade that would have sent Yasiel Puig to Boston in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr. The Red Sox quickly declined, and so talks didn’t go any further.
Fans of the Dodgers were left to wonder why the front office would still be continuing to talk about trading Puig, especially after the season he had last year. Yasiel had a fantastic bounce back season, and didn’t seem to have any blips on the behavior radar. It seemed to most fans that he had finally found his groove, and would be the Dodgers right fielder for the foreseeable future.
MLB Network picked up on the rumors this morning, being they also have nothing better to talk about.
The majority of the answers from viewers were for JBJ, and most of those cited “behavioral problems” from Puig as the reason. While we all know Puig has had his troubles in the past, he did seem to turn a corner last season. He appeared happy and healthy, and is showed in his play on and off the field.
The Dodgers, for their part, are seemingly looking for a center fielder. Bradley Jr could provide that impressive defense in center, allowing the Dodgers to work with the plethora of outfielders they have to see who would work best in the corners. Chris Taylor took over the role and did an admirable job, even though he had not played the outfield before last year. Original Dodger center fielder Joc Pederson did not have a great year, and was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to work on his swing. It seemed to have worked, as he did three home runs in the World Series.
Joc has said that he is committed to getting in better shape, and as much as we all loven Taylor, center is not his natural position. The Dodgers are smart to look for a center fielder somewhere else, in case Pederson doesn’t ever quite meet expectations. Bradley Jr for Puig seems to be about an even a trade there could be, with JBJ edging Puig in defense, and Puig having the bigger edge in batting. I’m sure they feel that Turner Ward could help Bradley Jr to become better offensively. A very important thing to note, too, is that the Dodgers front office likes that JBJ is under control for three more years, while Puig is only under control for two.
Personally, I don’t think Boston would be a good fit for Puig. While they have had characters in the past like Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, I could see the Boston media just hammering him if he had any perceived slights or missteps. Puig seems to finally have found his comfort zone with Ward and the Dodgers, and so in right field he should stay. Unfortunately, I think he will always be the subject of trade rumors, but I believe L.A. is the best spot for him.
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)