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Dodgers: The Long Goodbye To Yasiel Puig

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles in the second inning during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The 2018-2019 off-season has been interesting, but nothing is more controversial than the trade of Yasiel Puig to the Reds just a few days before Christmas. The reason the trade of Puig is controversial is that he was truly a fan favorite (hat tip to Captain Obvious).

Ever since he broke into the Majors of June 2013 Puig has been someone who is always worth the price of admission, whether he was throwing out runners at third, taking an extra base or even hugging Charlie Culberson while trying to steal. He was someone that you had to keep an eye on because he is one of the most entertaining baseball players most of us have ever seen.

Still Missing Yasiel

Now, Puig is gone and has been gone for over a month. However, many fans are having a tough time letting him go. His continued Instagram appearances continually remind us of what a fun person he is. Just the other day he was on MLB Network  and it reminded us even more about what will be missed. For everything Puig does most of Dodgers Twitter reacts in various ways that show how much they miss him and haven’t been able to move on.

For some, once Puig was traded they expected that the Dodgers would sign Bryce Harper to replace him. That doesn’t look like it is going to happen as the Dodgers signed A.J. Pollock instead. For many, the Pollock signing was underwhelming, especially given he’s replacing Puig and Harper was hoped for.

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Losing Popular Players

The trade of Puig is the most controversial and heart rending move since the trade of Juan Uribe. Like Puig, Dodgers fans just fell in love with Uribe not only for his play on the field but his personality off of it. Frankly, we still talk about this trade in our house. Other trades that got to fans including Matt Kemp after the 2014 season, Paul LoDuca in the middle of 2004 and, the worst for many, Mike Piazza in 1998.

Trades happen and fans understand that but in the Puig case they still wonder why.

Why Was Puig Traded?

A few reasons have been given for trading Puig such as providing more consistency in the lineup, giving Alex Verdugo an opportunity or because he could be a free agent after 2019. However, the interview Pedro Moura had with Dave Roberts is telling:

When the Dodgers hired Roberts three years and two months ago, he already sensed Puig would demand more of his attention than any other player. He did not know just how much that would be. Between bites of toast, Roberts credited Puig with helping him learn patience and expressed a belief both the player and team could benefit from a change of scenery.

“Yasiel has a unique way of attracting a lot of attention and still playing at a relatively high level,” Roberts said. “With that, it does take some of the pressure or focus off the other players — good and bad. But I think at its core, it gives us an opportunity to give some of the players we have a runway.” – Pedro Moura, The Athletic

What I mainly see is that Puig is quite a handful for a manager and that can be exhausting. We know that Don Mattingly could not stand him and Dave Roberts had some issues with him. However, Roberts also worked with Puig and they were able to have a good relationship. Sometimes, it’s just too exhausting and change is needed. There doesn’t seem to be any hard feelings on either side as Puig seems to have moved on and is embracing his new team.

Trying To Move On

Once the situations with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, J.T. Realmuto, and either Joc Pederson or Alex Verdugo are resolved, then the fans will know what the team will look like. Moreover, once spring training games start, the focus will go more towards the players on the field and the battles for positions and roster spots.

Eventually I expect more fans to move on from Puig but it probably won’t be until after the Reds come to town in mid-April. That will be emotional for many but I expect something to happen that will make Puig more like another opponent. Maybe he has a key hit or does something that makes the fans mad. At the end of the day Dodger fans will be pulling for their team. It doesn’t mean that Puig is hated or still not held in high regard but that the name on the front will be more important than the one on the back.

Final Thoughts

I understand the feelings of many fans as I’ve had them with players such as Uribe, LoDuca and Piazza. I would absolutely be gutted if Corey Seager or Julio Urias were traded. People can’t and shouldn’t feel they have to control their feelings toward Puig. Whether you miss Puig greatly or have moved on (I actually moved on easily), there is no right and wrong. The passion we have towards teams and players is why we are fans. One thing I don’t like seeing are fans telling other fans how they should feel. Let’s not do that.

No matter what, the Dodgers will be quite a bit different without the Wild Horse in right field. We watched him mature as an adult and grow as a player these last six seasons and now he moves on. We will all deal with moving on in our own way and in our own time.

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Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

14 Comments

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  1. Entertaining does not win games, in fact can cost games. I moved on from Puig 3 years ago; what an enormous waste of talent. I fully expect that statistically he will have a terrific 2019 season while playing half his games in the Reds bandbox and Dodgers fans will lament that it was a terrible trade. Addition by subtraction for Dodgers remains my opinion.

  2. The funny part for me is that the pic that’s used for this article shows Puig wearing a non-uniform belt during the game. I heard from a friend who has access to the players that he was constantly late and his nonchalant manner in the locker room wore on his colleagues.

  3. Dumb, stupid move trading Puig, Kemp & Woods for what? The only thing the Dodgers got was more money in their pockets. If not for Puig’s ability to save runs with him arm and outstanding catches, his clutch homerun allowed us to advance to our WS goal. If not for Kemp caring the team the first three months of last season, we wouldn’t even have won the NLW. How quickly they forget!! I had given up on following the Dodgers when McCord owned them, in fact not watching baseball at all. If I wasn’t a Dodger fan why bother? Then along cane Puig who brought fun back into baseball! His amazing natural ability, plus his entertainment abilities, sucked me back into being an avid fan again. The fans loved him and started filing the seats again after the McCord debacle. To trade him is a slap in the face of the fans, especially for what we got in return. We need pitching, and losing Puig sure didn’t help that. Why did Friedman trade Puig but extend Roberts for 4 more years? I’m finished with the Dodgers. They have gotten the last of my money.

  4. As I said when the Puig trade was first announced, there’s more to baseball than winning. I go to the park to be entertained! Winning is important, but for $100.00 plus, I want to enjoy the game. Win or lose, Puig was always entertaining.

  5. I totally agree with Jerry Thompson. Puig is the only reason I became interested in baseball again. McCord drove me away! Now that Friedman traded Puig away I’m going to save a lot of money!!

  6. I’m glad he’s gone! selfish player, never about team. Won’t hit the cutoff man, won’t respect the players around him. I saw him in Chicago step right in front of Joc Pederson and catch ball. He plays like he’s the only player on the field. He’s a Terrible bases runner, I,be seen him get picked off second on a pop up to 3rd base. He has hit in the postseason, and can be elite defensively when he wants to be, but it was hard to watch over 162.

  7. Puig is gone and I understand it the move in the fact that he is a FA after 2019 and Dodgers wanted to at least get prospects (something) for as opposed to nothing, because I don’t believe they would have made him a QO. But let me add that that I am not sold on V and I don’t believe he can replace Puig offensively.. Now Puig had trouble with LHP as a RH hitter the last 2 years but I would guess that Verdugo (another LHB) won’t get too many chances against LHP if he shows a struggle against them at the outset. and I have heard that their may be issues with him having shown up late in the past or just taking thins for granted. I conclude that Verdugo should not be treated as the next coming of Ted Williams or Lou Gehrig. Pitchers will figure him out like they do most players.

    • Nobody has come close to comparing Verdugo to Ted Or Lou. I am surprised you failed to throw in Babe Ruth. Actually if Puig where anything like Ted or Lou he would still be on the team. I believe the coaches, players, and management are not sorry to see Puig is gone. Hopefully Verdugo can live up to the teams expectations.

  8. Like him or not, Puig brought joy to the game. He plays with an enthusiasm you don’t associate with many ballplayers. Sure, he’s had some boneheaded plays, but not for lack of effort. I especially enjoyed watching him get under opponents skin, i.e., Madbum. That in itself is worth a few hits. I hope he continues his antics for the Reds. It’s refreshing to see.

  9. I’m heartbroken that the Dodgers sent Puig to the Reds…you can’t even call it a trade for we got nothing in return. I seriously don’t think I can walk into the stadium again without crying, at least for a long, long time. I feel like the Dodgers front office has truly betrayed their fans. They have taken the fun & joy out of the game. I won’t be giving them my money again!

  10. I, too, am very disheartened about Puig’s departure and I do believe that we will live to regret the decision. With that being said, it is what it is. I will be ready to move on as soon as our season starts. But when we play the Reds…. I may just shed a tear when I see Puig wearing red.

  11. Don’t put anyone on he level of the Mike Piazza trade, except the Pedro Martinez trade – stupid disasters which Dodgers fans will never forgive.

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