With the Dodger clubhouse resembling a reality TV show as often as a cohesive unit built to win, it seems that the cold of winter cannot serve as refuge from the backstage drama.
This time, however, the source of the controversy stems from someone outside of the Dodgers organization. (Well, sort of.) Former all-star outfielder Andy Van Slyke, father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, recently went on to a CBS Sports radio program and vented his displeasure with the current roster makeup of his son’s team.
Andy told 920 AM in St. Louis,
“This is just between you and I. When the best player- the highest paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers- goes to the GM and … is asked what are [the needs of the Los Angeles Dodgers], this particular highest-paid player said, ‘The first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig.’ That’s all you need to know.”
Everyone is entitled to their privacy, of course, but there is no ‘between-you-and-I’ when it comes to conversations had over the radio. (Or any other medium of broadcasting.)
Now everyone can be sure that Andy Van Slyke’s rant was not to disrupt the clubhouse culture for the Dodgers, but he may have done just that. It’s no secret that at least one anonymous Dodger teammate wanted Puig gone, calling it “addition by subtraction” as reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan in late July. It turns out that the anonymous Dodger could have been Clayton Kershaw, “the highest paid player” on the team.
What does this mean for the Dodgers?
Perhaps nothing at all, but we now know that, through his son Scott, Andy Van Slyke has his finger on the pulse of the organization.
Whether or not the Dodgers are shopping Puig to other teams has yet to be confirmed by anyone in the league, but it’s worth noting that the Dodgers are in the market for pitching, both starting and relief. There are also rumors swirling about a possible deal with Cleveland to send one of their arms to Los Angeles for and outfielder in return.
Unfortunately, Puig’s stock has suffered severely over the past two seasons. Between his fluctuating weight, inability to stay healthy and polarizing attitude towards the game, the only thing giving the Dodgers brass any leverage in a trade is his club-friendly contract. For his potential, the cuban phenom is owed a relatively small sum of $24M over the next three seasons.
Perhaps this is all narrative and nothing more. On the other hand, if Andy Van Slyke’s insight turns out to be more fact than fiction after all, then the Dodgers could be heading into the 2015 Winter Meetings with the stove very, very hot.
The Winter Meetings will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from December 7th through the 10th.
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