UPDATE (July 25, 8:45 a.m. PT): According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently told Yasiel Puig he will not be traded:
Dodgers star outfielder Yasiel Puig has been assured by Dodgers higher-ups he will not be dealt this trading season, sources close to the team said. Puig, the mercurial and occasionally controversial talent, was reassured within the last couple days in New York after hearing rumors he could be dealt to the Reds or elsewhere for needed pitching, according to those sources. Puig took the extra step of inquiring about his status after hearing the rumors.
Heyman also adds the Dodgers reportedly are not engaged in trade talks involving Puig, nor do they have a desire to move him.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers looking to bolster their starting rotation without gutting their farm system in the process, it’s led to expectation and desire players from the Major League roster be included in any trade.
Among the names floated with frequency is Yasiel Puig’s. The Cuban native is in his third season with the Dodgers, second since Opening Day. Puig infused life into the club when he was called up from Double-A in June of 2013, but has endured a love-hate relationship with a percentage of the fan base and according to reports, his teammates as well.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, teams have asked on Puig in trade talks:
Teams have asked about Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers have been unwilling to include him for any rental.
The trade interest was corroborated by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who also noted why the Dodgers are hesitant to part ways with the talented right fielder:
As for Puig, numerous teams are asking about him, sources say. But as I wrote earlier in the week, he has made an effort since the All-Star break to be a better teammate. What’s more, the Dodgers remain optimistic about his upside, and they need his right-handed power long-term — Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez and top prospect Corey Seager are all left-handed hitters. According to sources, the Dodgers only will trade Puig if they can obtain equivalent value — and it will be difficult to obtain equivalent value for a player who is 24, extremely talented and relatively inexpensive while under club control through 2019.
Rosenthal addressed the rumor of the Dodgers packaging Puig with a pair of prospects to trade to the Cincinnati Reds for Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto; it didn’t have legs he found. Given that most of the starting pitchers already on the trade market or expected to be available are in the final year of their contract, losing Puig for a potential rental is counterintuitive.
If Puig is to be included in a trade, it likely would mean Cole Hamels is at last making his way to Los Angeles. However, even that scenario has its loopholes. Trading Puig would leave the Dodgers with a starting outfielder of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson.
Aside from the fact all three left-handed batters, Crawford and Ethier are on the wrong side of 30, no matter how productive Ethier has been and Crawford may be once he settles in. Moreover, while Puig has struggled at the plate (who hasn’t?), his speed and game-changing arm in right field is nearly impossible to replace.
Slowed by injuries, he’s played in 51 games and is hitting .259/.335/.434 with six home runs and 22 RBIs; and he has a .331 wOBA and 114 wRC+ heading into play Saturday. Additionally, Puig’s collected eight RBIs in the last seven games, including a two-run home run in Friday’s win over the New York Mets.
It’s also important to remember Dodgers chairman and controlling owner Mark Walter recently backed Puig, giving him his vote of confidence. Fact of the matter is he hasn’t necessarily been as bad as advertised and isn’t a likely trade candidate, no matter how much certain factions of the fan base may wish for that to be the case.