Yasiel Puig Trade Rumors Surfacing Once Again

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since he burst onto the major league scene back in 2013, trade rumors surrounding outfielder Yasiel Puig have become an annual event, especially during the offseason. This winter, however, whispers are surfacing more than usual, mainly because he’ll be eligible to test the free agent market after next season, so long as somebody doesn’t sign him to a long term deal beforehand. Furthermore, with the Dodgers making their interests public regarding a catcher and bullpen help, the front office crew may dangle the 28-year-old Cuban’s name in a prospective trade package or two at the Winter Meetings this week.

There has been some gossip circulating about Puig being unhappy with the time he spent on the bench last season, with most of the reasoning being attributed to his lack of success against left-handed pitching. Throughout his career, Puig’s splits were relatively even, but he began to have trouble against southpaws in 2017 when he hit a paltry .183/.317/.275 against them. Last year, he rebounded to produce a slash line of .209/.268/.360 against left-handers, which is still extremely unproductive for a player who feels he should play every day. What’s more, only two of his 28 long balls last season came against southpaw pitching.

Regardless of his split trends, Puig remains one of the best defensive right fielders in baseball, despite being shunned for a Gold Glove award on an annual basis. There’s no question the Dodgers value defense, but they may still be likely to shop him because of their current surplus of outfielders. Undoubtedly, Puig’s defensive tools will be what garners interest across the league.

As recently as Saturday, rumblings of the Mets having interest in Puig have surfaced, as first reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post. New York has indeed been aggressive so far this offseason, but with the exodus of Jay Bruce and the uncertainty of Yoenis Cespedes, the team has a not-so-appealing outfield setup of Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto heading into 2019. Nonetheless, there are rumors the Metropolitans may be courting A.J. Pollock, among others, to help in the outfield. Coincidentally, Yasmani Grandal has emerged as one of their targets at catcher.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times recently did a story on Puig, saying that he feels that Yasiel likely wouldn’t command much of a return if he’s dealt. Some teams may conceivably be concerned with his lack of discipline on the diamond, as made evident by his propensity to miss the cutoff man on defense coupled with his frequent baserunning miscues. Still, as recently as a few weeks ago, Puig was thought to be one of the one of the featured pieces of a package proposed to the Indians, being that Cleveland made public its need for an upgrade in the outfield.

Regardless of how the winter pans out, the Dodgers won’t be in a hurry to move their right-fielder, especially if their isn’t much offered in return. Nevertheless, with at least a half-dozen outfielders who are big league ready, someone is bound to be shipped out at some point, and this week’s meetings in Las Vegas could be as good of a time as any.

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Yasiel Puig Trade Rumors Surfacing Once Again

  1. You mention that the Mets may have some interest in Puig and that they also have interest in Pollock. Now Buster Olney says the Dodgers are also in on Pollock. If there is any truth to that rumor it may indicated that Friedman would rather play Bellinger at first and that might mean he’s willing to move Muncy. Or not. Welcome to the best week of the year, except for whatever week we finally win the WS.

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    1. I understand what Pollock brings to the table, but I just can’t see the Dodgers spending money on a free agent outfielder, especially if they intend on staying under the Luxury Tax threshold. I guess it would be a different story if they found a way to lose some of Kemp’s salary, though.

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      1. Kemp and Puig between them are around 30 mil. What if we move both of them? I really expect AF to do some major consolidating of his outfielders and possibly his starters. We shall see.

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    2. I still have Bellinger in center for all the reasons I’ve iterated and reiterated. Getting Pollock in house would change that.

      I like Puig, always have. But every year I feel he comes up short of producing to his talent level. The guy has Mantle talent but too often Moochie production. 5.1 WAR at age 23, no where near it since. He’s still got 3-5 years of potential big years in front of him, somebody might want him. He is the Wild Horse. People will pay to see him. I think he would be a draw in Gnu Yourk.

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      1. Puig loves the big stage. There is no bigger stage than the Big Apple. They would also have the luxury of trying him out for a year so wouldn’t be making a long commitment. If it works, they re-sign him.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We have been hearing the rumors for years but I think this is the year Puig finally gets traded. There is a value issue they have to contend with however because you can’t hold Puig’s attitude over the Dodgers head if you want him ina trade. Puig has value and it goes beyond his bat. He’s a legitimate gold glove in the OF and has the biggest arm in all of baseball. Those are game changers. I for one don’t want Puig traded and would prefer they start him full time rather than against just righties so you always have his glove and arm in RF. If they do trade him though they better get actual food value in return instead of just unloading him for the sake of doing it. Puig isn’t happy in LA anymore it seems though so Friedman will trade him for 10 cents on the dollar.

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  3. I don’t necessarily want to see Puig traded but, an unhappy Puig would be very bad. If the rumors are true about him losing faith with management, I could see him turning into a cancer on the team, we don’t need that. He could ruin team chemistry real quick, remember the Puig, Greinke days.

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  4. No way Dodgers resign Puig after next year so get what you can now. It’s Verdugo’s time anyway! If they also trade Joc and dump Kemp and Hill’s contracts then you have to think they make a run for Harper!

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  5. I guess I’m in the minority on Harper but you just can’t make a valid argument to me how he’s going to be worth over $300 million and he put up similar numbers to Joc Pederson last year.

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    1. Harper’s career numbers vs. LHP aren’t actually all that bad—.258/.354/.442. Joc’s career avg vs. lefty pitching is .181/.266/.317. Leftys make joc look foolish—so much so you gotta bench him against southpaw starters. I still don’t think Bryce is worth $30 million, though, especially when he’s gonna sizably regress every other season.

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  6. I believe little of what I read or hear until it becomes a fact. MLB’s winter circus sets down in Las Vegas this week. When I see Friedman or some other GM or big cheese step to the podium to announce a trade or signing, then I will believe it. As for Puig being disgruntled. I have only read that he is open to a trade because he has lost trust in the front office. And why shouldn’t he? He reads and hears all the rumors. His amigo and guru is no longer with the team. When they were talking a catcher and a pitcher and Puig was in the deal, I could see that. But Puig straight up for Bauer? Nope, I am not playing a guy who when he has it going should be in the lineup every day. They do not need outfielders. They have a glut of them as it is. Pollock? AJ is a good hitter and pretty good defensively. He is also injury prone, which makes him a prime Andy target. But he hit a large portion of his HR’s against the Dodgers, 9. I do not see him as a good fit in LA. They do not need starting pitching unless they trade 1 or 2 of the ones that they have. They need a starting catcher, unless you believe that Barnes will rebound, they need back of the bullpen help. A bridge to Kenley is vital. And if anyone is thinking Harper, they are going to have to unload some payroll for that to happen. Puig is slated to get a raise to 11.5 Mil. Kemp makes 21. 5 this year. To trade Matt they are going to have to find someone to either take a large part of that salary, or eat most of it. Anyone who believes Muncy is going to have another year in 2019 like he had this year, well, I believe you are dreaming. The league knows who he is now. They will change the way they will be pitching to him. He is a defensive liability. Putting him at 1st or second base weakens the infield defense. He is no where close to being as good as Bellinger is over there. That’s why if they included him in any trade, it would not bother me one bit. But the bottom line is this. Based on his history with this franchise, I do not expect Andy to sign anyone of major consequence. I do not see LeMahieu or any of the top free agents wearing Dodger blue next year. I think it is more likely he will try to improve the team through a trade. I think one of the things hanging up a Kluber or Bauer deal is that the Tribe is trying very hard to unload Jason Kipnis and want someone to take him off of their hands. In the long run, by Thursday afternoon we will know which way the wind has blown with Andy the Great.

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    1. Small point but our obligation to Kemp is $18mm. We could move him if we pay half. Do we want to do that? Depends.

      Harper at $30 million would be fine if he was putting up 3+ WAR every year. He’s capable of that and more, but, will he do it.

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  7. I now wish we hadn’t made the Machado trade because since everyone clearly wants Klubert and they need OF in the worst way we could have given them a package centered on Yusniel Diaz.

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  8. I have never been much of a Bryce Harper fan. He has had one good year (exceptionally good) but then a couple of decent years, and that is it. Certainly not worth $300+MM. People are complaining about Kemp and the last years of his contract. Harper has slightly better offensive numbers compared to Kemp before Kemp signed, but not nearly the same defensive player. And yet some think Harper is worth twice what Kemp got and for more years. Count me out. There is better way to spend $30MM+.

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    1. I agree with this. It’s all about production. It’s about the WAR.

      And…. $/WAR is at $10 million and will be going up. He’s just 26 and with his God given talent 3 WAR should not be that difficult for him. I mean, Chris Taylor put up over 4 rWAR. In fact, 7 Dodgers put up over 3 fWAR. There is no logical reason Bryce Harper, at age 27, shouldn’t do it With proper leadership and immersion into a winning culture, I think Bryce Harper can earn $300 million over the next 10 years. Friedman and Roberts will convince him he can do it, and his Dodger teammates will help him get it done.

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      1. Uh I think Harper has been immersed in a winning culture his whole career. How did that work out for him.
        Not at his best on the big stage. Actually not at his best most seasons.

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  9. Bryce Harper is 26 but let’s not forget this guy has been in the majors for a long time now. He’s got way more miles on him than the average 26 year old player does. If we are going to write a blank check for someone then wait until next year and make Mike Trout an offer an offer he can’t refuse.

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    1. Won’t argue with that Alex. I’d rather have Arenado too. I think it’s likely Friedman passes on Harper. I’m not sure how he is valued by the Dodgers, but I think it’s not 10 years and $300 million.

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  10. Power, speed and defense! Keep Puig, extend him for 3-4 years and let him play. He had some big hits against lefties late in the season and will get better. He hit them early in his career and has .250 lifetime avg, despite lastntwo seasons.

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    1. Works for me Gl. Taylor, Bellinger, Puig, Turner, Seager, Hernandez, Freese, Cervelli. Fortyleven different pitchers all rotating on and off the 25 man. We take the West with 92 wins, lose in the playoffs. The Kasten/Friedman model carries on.

      Latest rumor, put out by someone who probably knows about as much as any of us do, is we get Cervelli. For Kasowski. Mets, Phillies, Astros, Yankees, Padres divide up all the other guys we’ve been talking about.

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      1. Not the Big K! Anyone but the Big K. Tell me it ain’t so Scoop. Actually I guess you kind of told me it might not be true.

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