With an abundance of outfielders and need for starting pitching, conventional wisdom suggests something will give for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As the crop of notable free-agent starters has dwindled, the Dodgers are said to be discussing trades with the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays.
Los Angeles and Cleveland reportedly have traveled down this road last month with the Dodgers looking to land a starting pitcher and the Indians seeking an everyday outfielder.
Yasiel Puig has largely been at the center of trade rumors, though the Dodgers reportedly are willing to pay for a portion of Carl Crawford’s and Andre Ethier’s remaining salary in any deal.
Despite some off-field concerns, Puig may be one of the Dodgers’ more valuable trade pieces given his age, team-friendly contract, talent and potential. However, the club isn’t set on trading the 25 year old, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
Word is that the Dodgers would trade Puig, but only if they can get a good pitcher back. They are not to the point of giving him away, as he obviously has the potential he showed his first year before regressing. Their main efforts are being directed toward getting the best out of him, not trading him.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman last month stated the team is better off with a healthy Puig on the roster. A.J. Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez defended the polarizing outfielder after an ex-teammate offered a scathing assessment of Puig.
Coupled with other concerns, hamstring injuries that limited Puig to 79 games last season would likely entail the Dodgers selling low in any trade. He hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, a 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 22 walks in 311 plate appearances.
Having just returned from participating in Major League Baseball’s goodwill tour of Cuba, Puig is currently under investigation over an alleged domestic violence incident during which he also punched a bouncer outside a Miami bar.
However, MLB reportedly hasn’t found evidence to support the claim Puig got physical with his sister, and it’s believed the issue began with Puig attempting to play peacemaker, not spark a fight.