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A Yasiel Puig Trade May Be the Dodgers’ Best Option

Puig
Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig (66) runs after hitting a single in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment he arrived in Los Angeles, Yasiel Puig has been one of the most polarizing figures in recent Dodgers’ history. You either love him with all of your heart or you absolutely cannot stand the way the guy plays. I myself love Puig, and I think he is incredibly entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, I think its time we say goodbye to our dear friend.

Now, don’t get me wrong here- I adore Yasiel Puig. Seeing him finish out his contract playing in Los Angeles and then some would be awesome for me. I’ve always been a big fan of the guy, even when he was getting demoted to AAA. But if Los Angeles wants to make a move for one of Cleveland’s starting pitchers, Puig is almost certain to be included in the contract. There are two reasons for this, but money is the biggest factor.

If the Dodgers made a move for Kluber, he is owed a minimum of $19 million in guaranteed money. That would be the cost for him if they did not pick up his 2020 and 2021 options. It is much more likely that the team will be on the hook for all $52,500,000 that would keep Kluber through 2021. Los Angeles has made it pretty clear that despite the luxury tax no longer being an issue for 2019, they will not be spending ridiculous amounts of money. In fact, most have them predicted to be under the $200 million mark for 2019.

Puig would not be the only piece going in a deal for Kluber, as there would likely be a high ranked prospect and perhaps a major league arm going to Cleveland. This would especially be the case if they were also trying to go after Yan Gomes in the deal as well. I would think that Ross Stripling and Alex Wood are both names being floated in potential deals.  In terms of financials, a deal that included Puig and Wood would likely save the Dodgers about $21 million based on arbitration projections. That could easily help offset Kluber’s contract.

The question though is whether or not Cleveland is willing to give up Kluber for expensive talent. Puig and Wood would cost them quite a bit, and Puig is in his final year of team control. Ross Stripling could potentially make more sense for them than Alex Wood.  He is under team control through 2022, and not eligible for arbitration until 2020. Regardless, I think any Kluber deal will likely include Yan Gomes, one or two prospects from the Dodgers, and either Alex Wood or Ross Stripling.

Outfield Congestion

The other reason I feel Puig is the right guy in this scenario is that the outfield is already fairly crowded. Without signing a second baseman, the Dodgers have about six to seven guys vying for three outfield spots in 2019. Most in baseball think that it’s time for the Dodgers to make a call on Alex Verdugo, and I would agree. He should not be in limbo anymore but should be a close to an everyday player by the end of 2019.

Joc Pederson is going to get his share of time in the outfield, as long as a southpaw is not on the mound. Andrew Toles will no doubt get his hacks in the next year. Matt Kemp has plenty of question marks around him, but they are on the hook for his contract.  Hernandez and Taylor will both be the mix for outfield positions as well, and Bellinger is likely to be out there as well. If the Dodgers have intentions of holding on to Max Muncy, he’s likely going to be their first baseman. That would give Belly plenty of outfield opportunities.

Outlook

In reality, I really hope they don’t trade Puig. I love the guy, and he makes baseball fun for me when the Dodgers are struggling. But if they can go out and get a guy who has won two Cy Youngs and an ERA of 2.58 over the past two years, I would do it. Anything within reason to make this team better and work towards bringing a title back to Los Angeles.

I suppose we will just have to nervously wait and see.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

29 Comments

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  1. Get as much as you can for Puig now! Whether it is in a package to Cleveland, or to Pittsburgh for Cervelli and his expiring contract, or Minnesota for Jason Castro, or any other trade that will benefit Dodgers.

  2. Somehow Verdugo needs a shot to play. he seems to be the contact hitter the lineup is missing. Puig just might excel on another team. Cleveland should definitely go for it. Would love to see LA rid themselves of the strikeout kings Kiki and or Pederson. Kluber straight up for all 3.

  3. Although Puig has had reverse splits the last couple of years he is still a RHB and Dodgers do not need to be all LHB heavy. Most likely Verdugo will be limited to platooning because the Dodgers don’t allow any of their LHB to face LHP with any regularity at all. And as a result of how Boston’s LHP dominated Dodgers in the WS one can bet Dodgers will face tons of LHP at the outset until they can show improvement against them. If Puig has to be in this deal for Kluber, then Dodgers MUST address the need for another RHB to combat the LHP they will most certainly see a lot of. Honestly, I would much prefer to see Muncy dealt, (he is a K king) so Bellinger can return to 1st full time thereby easing up the OF log jam.

    • Hey Paul, hope all is well. Problems I see with Puig: first, his stats mimic a LH hitter, just because he hits RH doesn’t change those reverse splits. Second, his defensive stats took a huge hit last season going from a Wilson defensive player to a less than average defensive OF’er. And, without Turner Ward to coddle him with daily batting practice and kisses I am concerned that his offense will take a step back, perhaps significant step back. As a free agent after 2019 season I would rather see him traded now for some value.

  4. Need to fix the log jam so trade him or joc both can’t stay consistent in their approaches it’s time to start designing the team with all around hitters not home run or K sabremetric darlings

    • On a few occasions I talked about having guys put the ball in play more instead of striking out consistently with RISP. However I have also said that we cannot throw the big ones back (HR’s hit by Dodgers), because obviously without them we would not have even made the post season for one real reason…the Dodger pitching staff is very vulnerable to giving them up in huge numbers. Zaidi said it himself early in 2018 how Dodgers could not win many close games because they were being out homered by their opponents. And many games were lost in the later innings directly as a result of that. Bottom line is if the team is going to cut way down on hitting HR’s, the pitching thus needs to give up fewer as well.

    • Right on! I don’t care for the constant changes and juggling of line-ups. And I thought it was bad when Jim Tracy was here…..
      I am not convinced that the “geniuses” in the front office have the right idea. I think their moves have cost them dearly in these last two postseasons.
      And it would be interesting if Puig went to Cleveland. Those are the fans he flipped off as he went into the dugout after homering.
      I am all for trading Puig or Pederson now, while they could get something. But Cleveland likely won’t want expensive talent in return….not if they are clearing things out.

  5. Yasiel Puig is the best everyday player on the team. therefore, it would make sense that Andrew Friedman might believe trading Yasiel could be the Dodgers best option. Of course Andrew is the laughing stock of baseball. You come out after the 2017 season and state cutting payroll to avoid any luxury tax penalties is the Dodger main goal in 2018, By getting under that tax for 2018 it will allow the Dodger to go after elite talent for 2019 and beyond. Now the hype is we will probably keep the payroll under the luxury tax the next few years. How much money do the Dodgers need to make? Best TV deal in baseball, best attendence in baseball, and all you want to do is cut costs.
    So go ahead and trade away elite talent while at the same time you lie to the press. Remember it was Andrew who said he understands that the fans want to win the World Series, but he goes cheap on the bullpen.
    Andrew if you want to save the Dodgers money why don’t you rework your own contract to the point that you’re not the highest overpaid executive in baseball.
    The Dodgers don’t get better by trading Yasiel

    • Couldn’t have said it better……Friedman is the only part of the Dodgers that needs to be shipped out of LA…..Obviously has more passion and knowledge of money than baseball……

  6. The majority of Dodger fans including myself LOVE Puig. Puig has the best arm in the outfield BY FAR. His BA in the playoffs and in WS was at the top. It is a mistake to trade Puig. And SHAME on Dodgers management if they trade Puig!

    • “The majority of Dodgers fans including myself LOVE Puig”. Really? How do you know that? Speak for yourself. You don’t know what anyone else thinks. I can’t stand Puig. He’s a giant pain in the ass. Still making rookie mistakes as a six year veteran. He’s an attention whore. He can easily be replaced with Toles or Verdugo who don’t require constant coddling.

      • I agree with Neil. Don’t speak for others. Puig is Raul Mondesi, Part Deux–very frustrating and largely a waste of talent. I think it is time for him to move on. It was time LONG ago.

  7. When Brook Smith refers to Alex Verdugo as an outfielder ready for everyday play time, I must remind him…as long as the Dodgers are going to employ the analytics method to the lineup card daily as they did in 2018, there will never be an everyday player. Sadly platooning is proving to be the failed approach the Dodgers prefer. Name one star player who wants to be platooned everyday. That’s right, there aren’t any.

    • This will go down as another era of self induced failure to win a championship. This time due to a combo of money grubbing owners who only care about yearly playoff trips for keeping fans money coming in and not concerned with winning it all, and doing sabremetrics the wrong way by going overboard and platooning/ making everyone a homeruns or bust type hitter

      • EbenezerScrooge, I agree. It is very frustrating. As long as the “geniuses” remain in place, we will get more of the same. Friedman’s contract is up next year. I hope it is not automatic that he gets an extension.

  8. I, for one, am sick of seeing the Dodgers let very promising players go, only to wind up having them deliver Hall Of Fame careers somewhere else! (Remember Mike Piazza; Pedro Martinez; and very probably Adrian Beltre?) . Let’s shut up all this foolish talk about trading Puig and try doing something that will REALLY help–like getting a catcher who can catch the ball, and a reliable second baseman (which, I might point out, they HAD until the dodos in the Front Office decided to trade Dee Gordon). But that’s another topic. Just leave Puig alone and let him play!

    • Puig has been here since 2013. He has had plenty of time to show what he can do. His talent is obvious but the problems remain. When is he going to put it together? Maybe never, just like Mondesi. I think Mondesi really is the one you should compare him to. He is not comparable to the others that you have mentioned, for different reasons.

  9. What a hock of shit. There are tons of other players I’d trade before even thinking about fading Puig. People who can not produce when it really counts and are collecting big pay checks.

  10. If you need to trade Puig, so be it, but I would rather part ways with Pederson. He either hits a HR or strikes out, will never hit higher that .250 for the year, and his attitude makes him disliked in the clubhouse. At this age, he is more marketable than Puig, too. Puig has shown a willingness to change and learn.

  11. Keep Puig! Baseball should be fun…I have more fun watching Puig than anyone else, there’s more to baseball than trying put together the “best ” team. I come to the park for enjoyment, I want to be entertained winning sure helps, but it’s not the only thing.

  12. Lets trade the only player that steps up when it’s on the line in big games. Genius? Puig is the one of the most exciting players joining the likes of Jackie, Kofax, Pee Wee, Drysdale, Piazza, Gibson, Fernando and Hersh in Dodger history since I can remember. And you want to trade him. Unbelievable.

  13. Let’s start with Puig. Get the best deal you can for him, especially since Ward is gone! Dodgers have a clogged outfield with too many left handed bats. Puig has stats like a lefty. Sure he’s gone a gun for an arm but he still doesn’t know how to use it. So trade him and some of the other lefty players on the fence for hitting.

    I blame Turner Ward for creating players that think they are power hitters. Sure the long ball game is fun to watch but most of the long balls were solo shots. Get runners on base and let the real power hitters drive them in. Ward should have been working with the hitters to beat the shift…….go the other way, there’s a huge hole over there!!! Ward created all or nothing hitters with tons of “K’s”.

    The Dodgers have too many 4,5 and 6 starting pitchers. Yes 6, they don’t belong in the Bigs. The back end of the rotation is pretty bad.

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