Last winter the Los Angeles Dodgers traded a disgruntled Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres in effort to improve the clubhouse atmosphere and put the team in the best position moving forward.
To some, they face a similar dilemma with Yasiel Puig this offseason. The frustrations with Puig stem from his work ethic and big personality.
Andy Van Slyke, father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, stirred the pot when he appeared on a St. Louis radio talk show and said the team’s “highest-paid player” suggested that Puig be traded.
How accurate Andy Van Slyke’s information is and what his motives are can certainly be questioned, but it nonetheless adds another layer to the ongoing saga involving and surrounding Puig.
It’s been previously speculated, perhaps most notably Molly Knight’s “The Best Team Money Can Buy,” Dodgers ownership is against trading Puig, given his age, talent, upside, and team-friendly contract.
However, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, those in the Dodgers organization above team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman have softened on that stance:
So there continues to be a lot of indication that Dodger players and staffers are pretty sick of Puig, and sources within the organization say that the team’s leadership above Friedman is much more open to the idea of moving Puig than they would’ve been, say, 18 months ago.
Trading Puig at this juncture would entail the Dodgers selling low. He’s coming off a season in which hamstring injuries limited him to a career-low 79 games.
Friedman wondered if the hamstring issues were linked to muscle Puig added to his frame, and called on the dynamic outfielder to lose weight this winter; he also identified Puig as one of the club’s “wild cards” for the 2016 season.
The Dodgers were reported as having trade talks to send an everyday outfielder to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a starting pitcher; Puig was not specifically mentioned in the report. Los Angeles was linked to Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco prior to the 2015 trade deadline.
Puig hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, a .328 wOBA and 111 wRC+ last season, all of which are career-worst marks. He’ll turn 25 years old on Dec. 7 and is under team control through the next four seasons.