Continuing a trend, Yasiel Puig has once again surfaced in trade speculation ahead of the non-waiver deadline. The Los Angeles Dodgers were also said to have shopped their enigmatic outfielder during the offseason, which has been another common recurrence.
Puig earning $7.5 million in the final season of a seven-year contract he signed with the Dodgers. Many scoffed at the deal the organization doled out to the unproven Cuban talent, but it largely has been viewed as a bargain for the team in the grand scheme of things.
Following an impressive rookie campaign, Puig was an All-Star in 2014 and now is in the midst of a third consecutive productive season. That should be a significant factor this winter when he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.
The Dodgers have a glut of outfield depth and a face luxury tax implications both this season and moving forward, albeit to a lesser degree.
Although Puig’s name surfaces in trade rumors somewhat regularly, he’s learned to ignore that, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“No, I don’t listen to that anymore,” he said Saturday of trade speculation. “The first couple years, yes, because I like to play with this team. I like to hang out with my teammates here. Now the last couple years, I’m a better teammate and have more communication with my teammates and manager and coaches. Now I don’t worry about that.
“This is baseball. You come here, you get your start here with the Los Angeles Dodgers but you could finish with the Los Angeles Dodgers or another team. The reason I came to the United States was to play baseball. I’m going to do my best here and God only knows where you’re going to finish.”
The Dodgers and Puig appeared poised for a separation in 2016 when they failed to trade him before the non-waiver deadline and therefore demoted him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. To his credit, Puig returned from the Minors with a renewed outlook and behavior.
He’s largely been a model teammate since that point, with only a few bumps along the way.
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