Yasiel Puig has been a hot topic in the news recently, and mostly for the wrong reasons. He was reportedly involved in an altercation at a Miami nightclub in November, and then a few days ago, an anonymous ex-Dodger called Puig the “worst person” in baseball.
Puig is a polarizing figure, both on and off the field. Some fans love his bat flips and the emotion he expresses while he plays the game, and others think he’s tarnishing baseball. Some teammates and coaches get along with him, and some think he needs to grow up.
As such, when Dave Roberts was hired last month, it became intriguing about what that meant for Puig’s future with the team. There had been reports that he was being shopped, and recently it was said that the front office was still deciding what to do with the Cuban outfielder.
That being said, should Puig stick around, Roberts wants to make sure he can do whatever it takes to make Puig feel comfortable and welcome in the locker room. Here’s what the team’s manager said:
“I don’t know him; I haven’t talked to him yet. We have exchanged a couple text messages and we’re going to talk here in the next couple days. But I think I’d just like to start with a clean slate and just try to build that trust and just know that we need him but there are certain things that as a major league baseball player, professional athlete, you got to carry yourself in a certain way. So I think that to continue to build that trust and we’re here for each other, so turn the page and we’re going to start fresh, and we will see how that goes.”
Catcher A.J. Ellis told Bleacher Report he had similar feelings:
“As his teammates, we have to do a better job of encouraging him and reaching out to him. I know I do. And from Yasiel’s side, he has to continue to grow and to mature and to be accountable and understand that not all criticism is negative.”
There hasn’t been much talk about a possible Puig trade lately, so it does seem likely that the outfielder will be with the Dodgers in 2016. And if he is, it’ll be interesting to see how the new locker room dynamic affects him. It does sound as though — if Puig holds up his end of the bargain — it will be an environment more conducive for success.