The Los Angeles Dodgers managed to play a second consecutive season with four outfielders — five if you include Scott Van Slyke — vying for the three starting spots.
It took manager Don Mattingly some time and requiring players to switch positions before he eventually settled on the team’s best option. Yasiel Puig in center field, Carl Crawford in left and Matt Kemp in right.
Many expect the Dodgers to once again look into moving an outfielder, with Andre Ethier the presumed candidate most likely to be shopped. However, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has a different train of thought that includes Puig and infamous Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane:
Late-night thought: Yasiel Puig might be somebody Billy Beane would secretly target for a surprise deal.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) October 8, 2014
Emerging as a dark horse candidate wouldn’t be anything new for Beane or the Athletics, as they were the team who landed Jon Lester at the trade deadline. The move backfired on the A’s as they dealt arguably their most productive bat in Yoenis Céspedes and they faded in the American League West standings.
The A’s clinched the second Wild Card spot, but lost the one-game playoff to the Kansas City Royals, who have reached the AL Championship Series. While Mattingly indicated in early September a resolution for the outfield picture would need to be reached in the off-season, it’s difficult to envision Puig being included in any trade.
That being said, Puig’s growing pains have at times caused headaches and they appeared to lead to Kemp yelling at Puig in the dugout during a game at Coors Field. Moreover, the A’s could offer the Dodgers a much-needed commodity in the form of bullpen help.
Though a Dodgers’ outfield without Puig in it is difficult to fathom, the team does have the highly-regarded Joc Pederson, whom Mattingly referred to as the best center fielder in the organization, waiting in the wings.