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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