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Former Dodgers Outfielder Yasiel Puig Admits to Not Listening to Coaches



When it comes to former Dodger Yasiel Puig, he was making baseball fun again before it was cool. The Wild Horse took the league by storm when he debuted in 2013 and quickly developed a reputation fitting of the name.

As his time in the league and with the Dodgers wore on, it became clearer that Puig was playing the game on his own terms. Moreover, he showed time and time again was less interested in what the coaching staff around him had to say.

In a recent interview with MLB.com, Puig admitted to not necessarily listening to what coaches were telling him. Particularly on defense. Moreover, he admitted to clashes with the people around him.

The main thing for me and my agent right now is to be healthy and improve the things that bothered some people when I played. … You’ve got to pay attention to the coaches. If they tell me to move to a certain area and the ball ends up being hit somewhere else, that’s a problem with their statistics. They’re the ones in charge.

The oft-maligned Puig found himself without a job in 2020 after completing the contract he initially signed with the Dodgers in 2012. In part, the state of the game and free agency played a big role. Big league teams aren’t spending money — particularly in a pandemic season. But another huge factor was the narrative that followed the now 30-year-old outfielder.

Related: Former LA Coach Mark McGwire Reveals the One Thing That Held Yasiel Puig Back

He was difficult. He was late often. And now admits he wasn’t always ready to listen.

I didn’t like to do it, because I’m the one in the game and I see if the batter is going to hit the ball here or not. If they decide [on the positioning], you’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to do what they say. I’m ready to play in the big leagues and leave behind the things that were bothersome.

After the 2018 season, the Dodgers had seen enough. Especially after a key moment in the 2018 World Series where Puig, disregarding coaching instruction on defensive alignment, cost LA an out against the eventual world champion Red Sox.

Now, he seems and says he is ready to turn the page and become a better player and teammate, which is great. Yasiel Puig is not without his faults — none of us are — but the game of baseball is better off with him in it. The Wild Horse is a free agent and has been recently picking up some at-bats in the Dominican Winter League. And all he wants is one more chance to prove himself at the big league level.

NEXT: With Trevor Bauer’s Contract Demands, Where Could He End Up?

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Well, there’s the first “no duh” headline of the year! Seriously, I think we all liked to watch the Wild Horse do his thing, but the difference between his time and the “let the kids play” time is that the current crop, particularly guys like Tatis and Bichette, is that they aren’t acting like they know everything already. They are great players but they are willing to listen to others in order to get better. It is a shame that it – apparently – has taken Puig most of a lost decade to figure that out.

  2. What a horrible waste of talent. Wonder if Puig is willing to take a minor league contract with spring training invite? For a few thousand dollars a team could find out whether or not he has really matured. SF Giants desperately need talent; would Zaidi take a chance on Puig for a minor league deal?

  3. Yasiel Puig’s career was a study in progressive unrelenting decline, and unrealized potential. When he first came up, he was amazing with the bat, glove, and arm. And it was all downhill after that. What a wasted career! I have never seen so much unfulfilled potential. Puig was like an alcoholic. He ignored everyone as held onto his own self centered and self destructive ways, which negatively affected team morale as well as his own play. Puig’s biggest obstacle was Puig.

    • Puig was (and maybe still) a NUT case. His antics and behaviors speak loud and clear. Has a self-destructive behavior and self-absorbed child in a man’s body.

  4. I believe Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig (66) Matured a lot in 2020 season because:
    (1) He did not play.
    (2) He seen how great his former teammates “Gel” together without him.
    (3) He seen his former teammates “Win it All” without him.
    (4) He missed out in being The 2020 World Series Champions LA Dodgers!
    (5) He missed out in receiving a World Series Ring!

    Yasiel no doubt has the abilities to become a great MLB player but he needs to take his career more seriously by playing the game the right way and listening to his coaches and getting along with his teammates. with that being said I believe in second chances.

  5. Puig is irresponsible, immature, undisciplined, uncoachable and difficult for many teammates to be around. He is truly arrogant, thinking he was God’s gift to baseball. His potential seemed boundless and he was exciting to watch at times, but he has essentially squandered his opportunity to be a great player. He has acknowledged that he didn’t work hard because he was already under contract and now he admits to not listening to coaches, as if we didn’t already know that. Great players are the opposite of this they work hard to develop their natural abilities and they embrace guidance. Baseball doesn’t need Puig, he needs baseball. One might think that he would be grateful and realize how fortunate he was to get the opportunity he’s been given, particularly coming from his impoverished background. Maybe being without a job has taught him some humility, but I doubt it. He will have to change so much of who he is to be successful and that is not easily done. I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    • I agree, and do hope you are wrong. Sometimes it takes a big dose of karma to grow up and get some humility. “Most” people eventually grow up and mature with life’s experiences. Let’s hope he’s one of them. I liked seeing him in Dodger Blue, but can understand why he’s gone.

  6. He deserves another chance Braves messed up by not giving him a chance after he failed the covid 19 test.Imagine difference he could have made knowing he hits good in post season without him they had Dodgers down 3 games to 1 with him it might have been different outcome.

  7. Puig was a jerk to almost everyone when I’d see him after games. Good riddance. I hope he never plays again.

  8. Sounds like he’s desperate for a job.
    Doubt he can be trusted at what he said.
    I doubt if you put it in his contact that he didn’t listen to the coaches he could be released.
    He won’t sign it.
    To much baggage I’d pass on him with all the talent that’s available.
    Not worth the risk.
    One bad apple spoils the bunch.

  9. Puig used to be my favorite player but his pandemic-era shenanigans and behavior (going to Vegas, not wearing a mask, etc) when he could have been spending time with his kids, training, showing a good work ethic, proving that he wants and deserves to play, really leaves me feeling meh.

  10. but oh that throw from as deep in right field as tar can go directly into turners glove to nail the runner.
    Betts had the same throw but short hopped to turner for the out
    Puig had his monster homeruns and licking his bat but I’ll never forget that throw
    I hope he finds himself and gets it together

  11. I was a Puig fan if ever there was one.. I thought he held that rare talent of just being better.
    Unfortunately, top two rules of the big leagues, stay humble and be appreciative… When this isn’t followed, a player deprives themselves of advice… It will cause a player not to adjust as the game evolves.. This is what happened to the wild horse…

  12. Plug was extremely fun to watch and I was sad to see him leave. That being said he has done nothing to prove himself since leaving the Dodgers. The Dodgers made the right decision moving on. Too bad Puig was not as intelligent as he was athletic. He could have been one of the greats.

  13. Um yeah, pretty obvious he did not listen to coaches or team leaders. It took every MLB team passing on him for the 2020 season for him to realize he is a problem.

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