While Yasiel Puig had a breakout rookie season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, his regression and inconsistency has landed him in trade speculation on a near-annual basis.
Puig reportedly is one of the outfielders the Dodgers are looking to move this winter as a means of tapping into one area of excess depth to address another of need, and create some financial flexibility.
Puig is projected to earn $11.3 million next season via salary arbitration, and due to become a free agent in one year. The Dodgers reportedly attempted to trade him in August, after claiming Bryce Harper off waivers.
According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, the Washington Nationals sought Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith in a deal, as they intended to waive Puig:
A recent example came in August when the Dodgers claimed Bryce Harper on waivers and the Washington Nationals, wanting nothing to do with Puig, declined to trade Harper to the Dodgers unless Los Angeles attached one of its top catching prospects, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Even then, the Nationals would have waived Puig.
In similar fashion to how they operated when asked for Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Julio Urias or Walker Buehler over recent years, the Dodgers have not show any inclination to part with Ruiz or Smith.
And though the catcher position is a need for them this winter, the sense is the Dodgers are searching for a bridge to one of their top prospects becoming Major League ready.
Meanwhile, Puig’s future with the organization very much appears to be in question. He reportedly grew frustrated over playing time this season and lost trust in management. The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians have emerged as potential landing spots for the polarizing right fielder.