A common narrative tied to the Los Angeles Dodgers is they have a problem child in Yasiel Puig. Since making his Major League debut in June 2013, Puig has been a polarizing figure who’s drawn the ire of fans within and outside Los Angeles, national media and current and former teammates.
Just last month a former teammate of Puig’s called the Cuban native the ‘worst person’ he’s seen in baseball.
The comments were reported just over one week after Puig was involved in a fight outside a Miami bar.
The incident allegedly began after Puig was physical with his sister, however evidence has not been found to support that claim.
Major League Baseball’s investigation into the scuffle is expected to conclude by March.
With Dodgers position players due to report for Spring Training by Feb. 24, the focus should soon shift to on-field matters.
The start of camp will also mark the beginning of Maury Wills working with Puig, which the Dodgers legend told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times he is looking forward to:
“One thing I look forward to in spring training is working with Yasiel Puig,” Wills said. “He asked me to work with him. Whenever a player asks you, you know that you are more than halfway there. You got him. It’s when you have to go and pull him out of the clubhouse that it’s difficult.”
Wills added he’s hopeful the Dodgers won’t trade Puig and believes his own experiences will contribute in aiding the 25 year old:
“Puig has a lot of talent. I just hope and pray that we don’t trade him. I feel I can turn him around, because of what I have been through.”
The Dodgers were once said to be interested in trading an outfielder in order to acquire a starting pitcher. Puig’s name naturally was associated with the reports, though the organization appears focused on getting the most out of their dynamic outfielder.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expressed confidence Puig, when healthy, can make significant contributions to the club. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts met with the outfielder on Thursday for the first time since being hired.
Puig is coming off a frustrating season in which hamstring injuries limited him to a career-low 79 games. He hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, .328 wOBA, 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 22 walks in 311 plate appearances.