As Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig worked to lose weight at the request of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, he was the subject of some trade rumors and an ongoing Major League Baseball investigation.
The Dodgers elected to keep Puig and reportedly attempted to shop other outfielders, and the 25 year old was cleared by MLB of any wrongdoing in mid-March.
Having shed weight, Puig reported early to Spring Training as has been far from the problem child some project him to be. Puig is slotted to be the Dodgers’ everyday right fielder and more than once has received support from manager Dave Roberts, Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi.
Roberts and Zaidi again went to bat for their dynamic outfielder, with both reiterating the Dodgers are a much better team with Puig, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
Roberts said, “We are lucky to have him.” Zaidi said: “I think [Puig] is in a great place. I heard all the rumors we would trade him, but for me it was hard to imagine how we would be better without him than with him, and the guy we have seen in spring training, we are much better with, no doubt.”
Puig had the worst of his three seasons with the Dodgers in 2015. He batted .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, .328 wOBA, 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 22 walks in 311 plate appearances, while appearing in a career-low 79 games.
His Spring Training statistics aren’t off the charts, though Roberts was pleased with Puig’s at-bats, work ethic and focus throughout camp. Puig did miss a couple Cactus League games due a tight hamstring, but since returned to action without issue.