Don Mattingly’s relationship with Yasiel Puig always felt slightly off. There wasn’t outright distaste, I wouldn’t say, but I also wouldn’t imagine Mattingly would be a groomsman in Puig’s wedding. So, when Mattingly chatted with Dan Patrick Tuesday, what he might say felt very interesting.
By Mattingly’s standards, the quotes didn’t disappoint. The transcription was done by Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times.
Where is Puig in his career?
I think at a crossroads. For me, I think he jumped out there and was great and then he has not really continued on that path. You’ve been around the game a long time, and a lot of sports. Guys will jump out that first year to throw the magic out there, and then there’s a league change. Teams are going to gear up for you, continue to make adjustments to get you out. If you don’t continue to work and continue to make adjustments, then you get stuck. Obviously the talent is there. The talent is off the charts. But he’ll have to make some adjustments.
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With Mattingly, you’d never expect him to go on some tirade about Puig because of the professionalism Mattingly has shown throughout this process. That said, the former Dodgers manager makes some great points. Puig is overwhelmingly talented physically, but does lack discipline at the plate.
Pitchers and scouts have known this for a while now. Puig simply hasn’t adjusted.
Now, some of this falls on Mattingly and his coaching staff’s ability to get his players to buy in and make said adjustments, simply because of the position they held. Oddly enough, that part didn’t come up. Again, for whatever reason, Mattingly’s and Puig’s relationship with each other was really complicated.
Now that said relationship has come to a close – at least for the foreseeable future – Mattingly’s insight into Puig’s recent struggles not only holds weight, but makes a ton of sense.
You can find the full interview below.