When’s the last time you heard about Yasiel Puig? It doesn’t seem that long ago that his play and personality made him the center of the baseball universe. Even when he messed up or showed off, some old columnist would throw their typewriter out a window in disgust, put it back together, and then bang out a column on how his exuberant antics were ruining the game.
We were all struck by an onset of Puig Fever. But now, the Dodgers right fielder is slashing .257/.321/.379 with 7 HR and 57 SO in 261 AB. He is, at best, painfully normal, which is exactly what we had turned to him to escape. Ken Rosenthal says that Puig’s middling out is exactly what could cause the Dodgers to deal him.
His defense this season is above-average. His personality seemingly is less of an issue than in the past. He even is hitting better since coming off the disabled list, producing an .831 OPS in 89 plate appearances. But for the season, Puig still has only a .700 OPS, still only seven home runs.
Perhaps the Dodgers will keep Puig, buying into his latest surge and banking on the fact that he is only 25. Or perhaps they finally are at wit's end with his performance if not his personality.
The Dodgers are rattled and cracked with injuries and feature a struggling outfield, just in time for another year of trying to compete with a dominant Giants team in the NL West. Despite being ten games over .500 at 52-42, Rosenthal says their need for a lefty reliever and an actual bat in one of the outfield spots is critical to their success moving forward.
Finding a suitor for Puig (You could find one) could bring them what they need, whereas none of their other scuffling outfielders are going to fill teams with desire: Joc Pederson’s not going anywhere, Trayce Thompson is hitting .165 in his last 30 games, Enrique Hernandez is hitting .189 on the season - and all of these guys are on the DL, by the way. That means guys like Zach Walters or Andrew Toles are stepping in, with even Howie Kendrick moving from infield dirt to outfield grass. This is not a stable situation, but Rosenthal singles out Josh Reddick and Jay Bruce as possible solutions.
There is a chance that Puig’s last act as a Dodger would help the team by acquiring them a more presently effective player, and Puig would get the chance to rebound - and cause the typewriters to fly - in another city.