Saturday, March 2, 2024
Home > Analysis > Yasiel Puig Declares Desire to Start, in L.A. or Elsewhere

Yasiel Puig Declares Desire to Start, in L.A. or Elsewhere

The Dodgers have never had a player as mercurial or debatable as Yasiel Puig. The man can make general managers from other teams drool over his highlights, as they imagine what he could do to elevate their team’s lineups and television ratings. Then Puig will promptly follow that up with a bone-headed base-running error, or yet another injury, frustrating even the most adamant, true blue Dodger fans. Look for 2017 to be more of the same, with a new twist.

This morning Yasiel Puig did his bit for Dodgers P.R. by serving up lattes and cappuccinos at a Hollywood coffee shop. He also made a personal P.R. mark by declaring (per Andy McCulloh/LA Times),

“I want to be a starter again, whether it’s here or somewhere else.”

It’s a common theme among ball players; everybody wants to start. But it’s the tag-on line of playing in Los Angeles “or somewhere else” that raises eyebrows.It’s the kind of statement that not only puts the player on the spot, but team management as well.

Matt Kemp said “play me or trade me” one too many times. Once the Dodgers were sure Kemp’s talent was spent enough that he wouldn’t come back to haunt them, they traded him to their division-rivals,the San Diego Padres, who were betting on Kemp’s name to increase ticket sales.

Most recently Andre Ethier sang the play me or trade me tune. New manager Dave Roberts showed early faith in Ethier, declaring him to be his starting right fielder and lead off batter. Ethier’s unfortunate broken leg derailed that scenario, and now Captain Clutch finds himself coming into 2017 as just another guy battling for a starting position.

I doubt Puig meant his statement to be a true ultimatum to the Dodgers, but many will see it that way, including those in the front office who hold the power to trade him, and have spent at least a year trying to do exactly that.

Puig’s 2016 season was exactly what Dodgers fans have grown accustomed to, and more. Puig thrilled us with awe-inspiring catches and unbelievable right field-to-third base assists. The trouble was (once again), Puig’s inconsistency. He was demoted midseason to the farms until he raised his batting numbers and maturity quotient. Puig was a good soldier, followed orders, and did pretty well upon his return to the big club. He batted .281/.338/.561 on his return, and that was all well and good until the Dodgers hit Puig’s achilles heel – the playoffs.

In four years of postseason experience with the Dodgers, Puig has come to bat 76 times. From those chances, he’s acquired a grand total of one double, two triples, no home runs and only five RBIs. His career postseason slash line of .263/.325/.329 is not the kind of stuff that legends are made of.

On one hand, I love Yasiel Puig as a Dodger, and I hope he busts out in 2017, delivering on the promise we’ve long been awaiting. On the other hand, he hasn’t shown me anything but shrivel under the brightest of spotlights. I’m pretty sure the Dodgers brass recognizes that reality as well.

Yasiel Puig has once again put on his good teammate face and in the offseason he’s shed weight the Dodgers asked him too, and spent time working on his batting skills with former Yankee, Robinson Cano. Will it be enough? Will we finally see the day in-day out consistency (and health) that one must provide in order to justify being a starter, and remaining in the LA home whites?

Whether he intended to or not, Yasiel Puig has declared “play me or trade me”. My guess is if Puig comes into the next season playing like gangbusters – and only then – he will remain in Dodger blue. Anything less, such as more of his typically erratic performances, and the Dodgers will oblige him and send him packing.





Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

46 thoughts on “Yasiel Puig Declares Desire to Start, in L.A. or Elsewhere

    1. Read the Gurnick article on MLB.Com. He really wants to start and what he said was not a trade demand. It was a statement that he is committed to winning back his starting job. Big difference. He has hired a personal chef to prepare healthier meals for him. He has been at Dodger Stadium working out and taking batting practice for more than a week. He also said he realized that a lot of the problem was in his approach. He has lost weight in an effort to cut down on his injuries, so I would say the desire to get back to where he was is there. Oscar read what he said wrong.

  1. I’ve read many people in here over the years (old site too), waiting for Puig to finally deliver on his “Potential”.
    Well, here we are 5 years on and guess what, the same conversations are once again being had.
    Sometimes your first impressions are the best ones. I suggested trading him immediately for Stanton (may not have been a goer for The Marlins). Don’t get me wrong, I loved the potential as well, but for me, alarm bells were ringing.
    The huge hole in the swing, the inability to lay off balls low & away & above all, the attitude.
    We have had teammates throwing his luggage off the bus, punch ups in nightclubs, admonishment for lateness, poor fitness, and demotion to AAA, amongst other things.
    The biggest problem though of course are his numbers. Let’s be honest, does anyone truly believe he is gonna turn things around? The numbers Oscar posted above for his post season production are woeful.
    I know people will say that he’s got an “affordable contact” and that he’s given us “X amount of WAR” at a low cost, but I just cannot see any way that he’s ever going to turn into the 5 Tool player that many of you hope. There is too much “Knuckle-headiness” going on to allow it.

    Like I said, 1st impressions are normally the best. I’d have traded him then, and Although his value is much less now, I’d do it to secure a decent 2B or LF, probably as part of a package, as his value has decreased so much.
    Cut the Crazy Horse free.

    1. 4 years and only 1 full year. I think trading him is nuts. He has a good manager now he gets along with.

    2. By the way, who you putting in RF? And they just got Forsythe from the Rays so they do not need a 2nd baseman. Ethier is a good outfielder, but he cannot cover the ground Puig can. Does not have his arm either. The guy was a changed player when he came back from the minors. Let him play. I think he will do a great job, he has the motivation to be better.

    3. Watford Dodger, one of the few things I agree with Badger on. Puig is a bargain!! What if we had traded him for Stanton? I would be hating that $300M contract about now. How about you?

      Puig is signed through 2018 and I believe he can be kept for two years after that by going to arbitration. That takes him through his age 30 season at a very reasonable salary. Additionally, whether you like it or not, Dodgers got to get under the luxury tax. I think it will happen in 2018. Puig and Forsythe fit nicely with that plan.

      Puig, who had just escaped the socialist hellhole, Cuba, has now had a few years in the good old U.S.A. to grow-up. I think he will come up big this year.

    4. Yes, I believe he’s going to be an excellent player this year. He’s not going to hit like the guy we saw the first month of his career, but we are going to see a guy like what Jason Heyward was supposed to be for the Cubs only at $8 million a year instead of $20+ million a year.

      Punch ups in nightclubs? Wound up being false reporting. Poor fitness? Yes and no. He has definitely gotten to bulky at times and yes he needs to take stretching and preparation more seriously. I think he knows that this is a make or break year for him. Justin Turner and his teammates are behind him. He’s hired a personal chef. He’s in great shape.

      I like what he had to say. He’s working to win his job back and if he does so I would rather see him out there everyday than Joc. One thing I noticed when he came back from AAA is that there was a lot less flailing at balls out of the zone and he was also laying off balls that were off the plate just inside. Let’s hope he spent the money to make sure that he arrives on time. I know JDL helped him with that last year after his return from AAA. Honestly, when he came back last year I wondered if Toles shared some of his anti-anxiety meds with him because he seemed a lot more calm.

  2. Definitely understand where you are coming from there W. Could get interesting. I’m of the mindset that ‘IF’ or as soon as Puig’s value is up again, he’s traded. The only hindrance would be if he is one of the primary components to the Dodgers being in first place.

    1. Just read that. Ken Rosenthal reporting the trade on FOXSPORTS. Straight up for Jose Deleon. Logan Forsythe. They have a 2018 option on him. Well we have our 2nd baseman. Twins wanted more for Dozier than just Deleon. Go figure, FAZ makes a trade with the Rays. Old pal James Loney to the Rangers on a minor league contract. Must be insurance in case they miss out on Napoli…about Puig. He has played parts of 4 seasons in the majors……I know it seems longer but it is not. He has only played 1 full season. 2014. He hit .296 with 16 homers and 69 ribbies. I would take that from any outfielder not named Joc Pederson. He was up for 103 games in 2013 and played in 102 last year. 2015 he was injured most of the year and only played 79 games. He has 435 games in 4 years which averages out to less than 109 games a year. And I disagree, if Puig plays up to his capabilities and his attitude is good, there is no way they trade the guy. 25 going on 26 coming to his peak years. That would be lunacy. And Dave Roberts seems like the perfect manager for the guy. Puig has the best arm of any of our outfielders. I think giving up on him and bringing in a over 30 guy like Braun is just plain nuts. The guy can play the game.

  3. I don’t know much about Forsythe. Is he good? Very good? Solid? A gamer? How’s his defense?

    Is this a dropoff from Dozier? Apparently we didn’t think Dozier was worth more than, or much more than JDL? Now we feel Forsythe is worth JDL, so we must view Forsythe as almost to Dozier level?

    1. He’s not the power hitter than Dozier is, and arguably less on the basepaths. But he’s a strong line-drive gap hitter, he’s a RH hitter, and he’s basically a 1+1 deal at a good rate.

      Friedman said that because they resigned the FAs (namely Hill for this quotation) “… kind of emboldened us and put us in a position to do something like this.” Friedman also said the Dodgers would have re-signed Chase Utley months ago if lineup wasn’t so LHH-heavy. But “never say never,” he said.

      With Stewart, Urias, Ryu (?), Stripling, Kazmir and McCarthy at least all still on the roster for the 4th and 5th spot there’s ample major league level depth.

      Morosi reports Twins wanted 2 prospects in addition to JDL for Dozier.

      Also says to me the team is vested in winning this season, plugging holes with a limited term.

      1. Bluto
        I had read earlier in the off season, that most baseball people think he is a better baseball player, then Dozier.

      2. Yeah, Dozier would have probably been even better, but, I like this move a lot. Dodgers had two more prospects to give Minnesota, just not two more TOP prospects. I think the Twins got greedy.

    2. Bobby

      I think he hit twenty HRs last year, and most baseball people think, he is really a better player then Dozier.

    1. Jeez. Chris Reed, the three that turned into Hill, JDL, Zach Lee, didn’t they also trade Dominguez for Libertore?

      1. Yes, Dominguez was a part of that deal. He had a sore arm at the time and did not do much. Last year he pitched for the Padres.

  4. Forsythe, not bad at all. 5.1 WAR in 2015 and 3.4 WAR in 2016. Plus defender. Solid move FAZ.

    About all that is left on the “To Do” list is beef up the bullpen and I don’t know if they even have to do that. But wouldn’t mind Blanton back and adding Holland.

    1. He had five defensive runs saved in 2015, so he is good defensively.

      They had a spray chart of his hits at Dodger stadium on twiter, and he hits the ball, all over the field.

  5. Solid move. One prospect for a solid major league 2B.

    There was never any way that the team would go into ’17 with playoff/championship aspirations with a combo of Kike/Taylor/Culberson/Barnes at 2B.

    Only 1 prospect – and the Dodgers’ greatest depth in the minors is righthanded pitching.

    1. I was reading about Dozier and Logan early in the off season, and it said that most baseball people, thought Logan, was a better baseball player, then Dozier.

      Dozier has power, but Logan hit twenty out last year, and his average was 270 something, so he is probably a better over all hitter, then Dozier.

      The front office did good to only give up our one player, the only bad thing, is that he only has two more years, of team control, I believe.

      1. Really? “Most baseball people?!??!?!” I mean if you squint hard, you might call them even. But across the board, I think Dozier’s better. Forsythe is close, but in the field, on the basepaths and for power you have to give the edge to the Twin, no?

        Dozier: 42HR, 8.8%BB, 20%K, .340OBP, .546SLUG, 5.9WAR
        Forsythe: 20HR, 8.1%BB, 22.4%K, .333OBP, .444SLUG, 2.8WAR

        Dozier hit more for power, walked more, struck out less and had a significant WAR advantage.

        1. Agree with you Bluto. Dozier hit 42 homers last year alone. Forsythe has hit 55 over 6 seasons. I’m not sure this is a ‘bad’ deal but I do think the Rays ‘sold’ high. Is Forsythe going to have another year like last season, maybe but not likely IMO.

          I would also make the same statement about Dozier probably not having the same year as last but downsizing from 42 homers to 25 is livable. With Forsythe, probably downsizing from 20 to 10 or less.

          Forsythe is a career .255 hitter. .241 while in the NL. Guess we’ll see how it plays out.

  6. They ended up dealing with Tampa after all. Third choice, and not a real leadoff hitter. But De Leon was expendable because of all the “depth” like Kazmir and McCarthy taking up roster space.

    1. According to the reports, he is going to hit leadoff for the Dodgers this year. Of course that could change during spring and if Toles winds up playing every day……….and how pleasant it is to come on here, voice your opinion and not have someone calling you names…..refreshing

  7. I remember that many professional baseball men thought that Puig was not ready for the majors when he was brought up. His early performance made it seem that he was ready. As it turns out, maybe he wasn’t, and he had to learn a lot of things under a lot of pressure. His fast start may have slowed down his development. Maybe now, he is ready. I hope.

    1. Oscar

      That spam must be stopping my comments, from going through.

      I left Scott a message, about a hour ago, and he must be busy.

        1. Wondering

          When I was young they had another meaning, for the word PAL.

          Take a guess what the abbreviations are, for those three letters.

      1. MJ,

        Check the device/phone you are using. It’s puttiny ampersands &&&& into your username/email address. I can see it from the backend. Restart your device and clear your broswer cache. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)