Since signing with the with the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Cuba, Yasiel Puig has seen plenty of ups and downs. There were times he was a major spark for the team and others instances where Puig was considered a clubhouse cancer.
The Dodgers reportedly attempted to trade Puig prior to the non-waiver deadline in 2016, and when they were unable to do so, demoted him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. That appeared to throw his future with the organization into serious jeopardy.
However, Puig bounced back in 2017 and had a career season, batting .263/.346/.487 with career highs in home runs (28), RBIs (74) and stolen bases (15) while also playing premiere defense in right field.
Despite his career trajectory now looking up once again, trade rumors involving Puig continue. According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe the Dodgers were in contact with the Boston Red Sox about trading Puig for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.:
According to major league sources, the Dodgers floated the possibility to the Red Sox of a swap that would send Jackie Bradley Jr. to Los Angeles while bringing Yasiel Puig to Boston. The Red Sox, according to the sources, quickly declined, so there were never any substantive conversations to advance a possible exchange.
The trade certainly would have been a blockbuster, as former All-Stars would have been swapped on both sides. If the Dodgers were to make the trade it likely would have been for Bradley’s defense, as he is known to be one of the best center fielders in the game.
While he plays right field, Puig is every bit as good of a defender as Bradley is though, as he had 18 defensive runs saved last season compared to Bradley’s nine.
Bradley’s bat is also behind Puig’s, as he hit .245/.323/.402 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs. Bradley did post an .835 on-base plus slugging percentage with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs in 2016.
What may have been appealing to the Dodgers in addition to Bradley playing center field is that he is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2018, meaning he won’t become a free agent until 2021, giving them four years of team control.
Puig, on the other hand, is on the last year of his current contract and may be costly in a year if he has another All-Star caliber season.