Whether mired in a slump or performing well, Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig seemingly can’t escape the fact he’s largely a polarizing figure.
Puig this season has been slowed by injury, painted as a headache in the clubhouse and showed flashes of the talent Dodgers controlling owner and chairman Mark Walter said lends to belief in the Cuban native. With less than one week remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, Puig’s name has been included in trade rumors, though they appear largely unsubstantiated.
It was reported Puig asked the Dodgers for clarification on his standing with the organization and received reassurance he wouldn’t be dealt. While that may hold true, Puig denied such conversation taking place, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
I don’t know anything about that,” Puig said in Spanish. Citing anonymous sources, ESPN Deportes reported Puig was recently assured by management he would remain with the team. CBS Sports later ran a similar story that said Puig inquired about his status after hearing rumors he could be traded to the Cincinnati Reds or another team in exchange for a pitcher. Puig said that never happened. “I don’t have time to be asking about that,” he said.
Aside from the dynamic Puig brings in right field and some of the still-untapped talent he possesses, trading him for any of the elite pitchers believed to be on the trade market isn’t the soundest of decisions.
Johnny Cueto, Yovani Gallardo and David Price are all in the final year of their respective contracts; Cole Hamels is the lone pitcher with multiple years remaining on his deal. Given Price is reported as being at the top of the Dodgers’ wish list, including Puig in a trade of that nature means losing him for what could amount to nothing more of a rental.
Additionally, it would leave the Dodgers with a starting outfield of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson — not the most daunting or reliable of trios. Through 51 games this season Puig is batting .258/.333/432 with six home runs and 22 RBIs.