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Dodgers: Former LA All-Star Yasiel Puig Admits Past Mistakes, Has Wish for Latin Players in MLB



Few players have taken a city and sport by storm like Yasiel Puig. The Cuban star joined the Dodgers back in 2013 after a harrowing defection from Cuba. Puig was just 22 years old when he made his MLB debut and had only been in the USA for less than two years.

With that came many growing pains and learning experiences over the years. And, as such, a perception followed the outfielder wherever he went.

In a post on his social media on Saturday, he admitted that he didn’t really know who he was supposed to be or how to act when he came to the states. And with that, he had an ask of Major League Baseball and the players union… 

Think of the needs of Latino players who are leaving everything they know behind to join your league. Their country and their culture.

With the help of his agent, Lisette Carnet, Puig had this to say.

I hope that during this lockout and through the baseball negotiations they also find a way of discussing the unique needs of Latino players. 

Latino players go through hardships for not educating ourselves from the beginning when we arrive in the U.S. We do not understand what is expected of us as public figures. Latino players need to not just learn English, but we need to better understand American values and social norms so that we can make better choices for our careers and lives.

The now 30-year-old spoke further on his past experiences and difficulties early in his career.

As a Cuban immigrant I came to play on the biggest stage of baseball without the proper guidance in place to help me fully assimilate, so I had to learn my lessons the hard way. I do not want another player with a similar background to experience the same hardships that I went through. I hope negotiations consider this gap.

Amid recently settled assault allegations and fighting through the narrative of his past, Puig has been out of the big leagues since 2019. He nearly inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves during the 2020 season but that was pulled reportedly after he tested positive for covid-19 at the time. He spent part of the 2021 season playing in Mexico where he hit well (.312/.409/.517) and was named as the Defensive Player of the Year.

WATCH: Yasiel Puig Has Message for MLB, Truth Behind Puig’s Time in LA, Should Dodgers Bring Back Puig?

In parts of 7 MLB seasons — 6 of which were spent with the Dodgers — the former All-Star has hit .277 with 132 home runs and 415 runs batted in. 

Puig is hungry and hopeful for another shot at Major League Baseball in 2022, he’s made this much known. But he may be more hopeful that no other player of his background go through what he did as a young player.

NEXT: Justin Turner Reacts to Corey Seager Leaving LA for Texas

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. I always enjoyed watching Yasiel Puig play. For all the bad things some said I always saw he had heat and a desire to win. Now the question is where can he go play. My suggestion is the Oakland As. The A’s are cutting and dumping salary so the won’t pay much but he could get a jump start of his career there.

  2. Biggest waste of talent in the history of MLB. No work ethic, wouldn’t listen to anybody and started believing the “Wild Horse” B S. It’s great to be a “personality” but you have to put the work in as well.As Vinny has said many times,”For all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these, It Might Have Been.

    • I could not disagree more with Puig as MLB and the American fans for decades have
      accepted and cheered on Latin players. Puig blames his failures that he created himself.
      As one post stated he didn’t put in the time and effort that is needed to succeed in the
      major leagues. If he would still listen and do the needed things he may still have a future
      in baseball. Just stop blaming everyone but himself for his problems. Btw, I am happy to
      see another Lain player finally make the HOF in Tony Olivia. One of the most natural batters I had ever seen. Should have happened years ago.

  3. When you’re doing what others don’t or when you go out of your way to do something for the attention it isn’t from naivety, it’s from thinking you need to be different, want to be different, and more times than not, you’re biting yourself in the arse. Puig took a huge bite from his own arse and now he can’t find a team’s bench to sit.

  4. #66 always had help from the Dodgers. They even hired a full-time babysitter for him 24 x 7 – round the clock to help get him more mature, and keep him out of trouble. Never happened. Vinny was right – Puig is the Wild Stallion, never to be tamed or ridden. Too bad – he had insane tools, but like the scarecrow, had no brains.

  5. I understand YP’s sentiment entirely, and by many accounts it sounds as if the man has evolved into an extremely charitable, giving man.

    Tell ya what, though; it’s not lost on me one bit that I read his Insta and this story on the same day that Cuban-American great Tony Oliva finally got his Cooperstown call. And in that spirit, it’s laughable for Puig to cast his underachieving net over MLB’s failure to assimilate Latin players.

    I recall Puig’s career flameout and the meandering, troubled path he took during his brief career. His problems were his own making. His minimal, lazy work ethic is legendary, and his loose cannon would seem to go off at a time when his team needed him most.

    The message here isn’t about MLB doing better for Latin players. It’s YP using MLB as scapegoat for his monumental failures. He failed because of his hot temper and utter refusal to continue to work as a professional to improve each day. He was just happy to be there and the spotlight was his, his team be damned. It appears he didn’t take his career seriously, until it was gone.

    When Tony Oliva won ROTY in the AL, along with the AL batting title in 1964, he did so as a young man who went from Cuba to Minnesota, speaking no English and only able to communicate with his teammates on the field, as a ballplayer. And boy oh boy, Tony Oliva spoke his game very eloquently, and at the highest of levels for the first decade of his career, before having having cut short by arthritic knees.

    Puig’s gotta be a bit more accountable for his career outcome.

  6. Maybe if the 200+million dollar dodgers didn’t bury themselves in the standings by June of 2013 they wouldn’t have needed to rush Puig up before he could learn some of those lessons down in the minors. Even with all the injuries they had at that point there was still a good enough roster to not be in 4th

  7. Absolutely not! Carlos “Ghetto” Correa is a shame to MLB, LA Dodgers deserved better unless LA Dodgers want to lower their integrity and be the laughing stock of MLB. Once a “Cheat” Always Cheat!

  8. I grew up in Los Angeles County and worked in L.A. media. My mother is a Minneapolis native. I visited the Twin Cities many times. Puig had far more distractions and press scrutiny than Oliva.

  9. Scrutiny from fans or media wasn’t anywhere on my radar when I responded to this story.

    The parallel to Olivia was only due to the coincidence – no, irony – of YP’s Insta diatribe on the same day Oliva and Minosa were voted into Cooperstown.

    Puig spoon fed an easy narrative to the media through his actions. He flamed out and tanked because of attitudes and problems of his own making. Media “scrutiny” is irrelevant and, in fact, the media ate up the Puig story straight outta the gate, anointing him a dang near superhero or carnival act. Then, though, the media was quick to tear him down. Why? Well, because he gave them little choice for the alternative.

    Perhaps we’ll hear Puig’s teammates from LA or Cincinnati come to his defense.

    • Puigs “antics” are common place with Latin players and are accepted now as a “let the kids play” thing. Unfortunately for Puig he came in a few years too early when the old dinosaur mentality was still prevalent on many teams and fanbases. Not feeling like he could be himself without everyone hating him and misunderstanding him didn’t help matters. If Puig came 2 years ago he’d be loved by all. He was also rushed up to the majors before he could learn the culture and assimilate due to a classic underperforming high payroll Dodgers team

  10. Puig was ahead of his time. He’s the reason players can show flash and personality now. He had to get beaned and bullied for it so guys like Juan Soto could exist. Who do you think was making facial expressions and gestures at pitchers before Soto? It was Puig. Who was bat flipping and having fun on the field before it became acceptable? Puig.

  11. What I took from YP’s rant was that he did not write a single word of it. He probably had nothing to do with it. YP has shown his entire career that his IQ is lower that his hat size.

  12. Many people have trouble growing up and mature slowly, Puig’s not alone. But the tons of money and adoration from many doesn’t help, it hinders. I enjoyed him with the Dodgers, but didn’t mourn his departure either. He can be, has been at times an exciting, absolutely electric player. I hope it finds a way to return, hopefully more mature, because he can be so much fun to watch.

    The line from Bull Durham comes to mind, “a million dollar arm with a ten cent head”

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