After a resurgent 2017 campaign on both sides of the ball, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig entered the 2018 season with expectations of being able to replicate that success with more consistency going forward.
So far that hasn’t been the case, as Puig has been hamstrung by struggles at the plate and injuries. He was recently activated off the 10-day disabled list and enters play on Saturday with career-lows in nearly every statistical category.
The poor play couldn’t come at a more inopportune time, as Puig is nearing free-agent status for the first time in his career. He’s eligible for salary arbitration this upcoming offseason but can test the open market in 2019 prior to his 29th birthday.
While it appeared that Puig had emerged as a long-term staple for the Dodgers last season, Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez opined on Twitter that the club may need to part ways and give him a fresh start elsewhere:
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) May 11, 2018
Since debuting for the Dodgers in 2013, Puig’s stint with the organization has mirrored that of a roller coaster. He singlehandedly transformed the lineup as a rookie and was selected to his first National League All-Star team in the following season.
But Puig’s production significantly dipped in 2015 and his struggles would carry into the following season, when he hit a low point with his demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. If not for a bounce-back 2017, it’s not difficult to fathom the Dodgers may have already moved in another direction.
While Martinez was critical of Puig, he complimented Walker Buehler for his early success in the Majors and believes his style epitomizes the Dodgers’ way of developing young pitchers.