Since the day he made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 2013, it was evident that outfielder Yasiel Puig possessed talent that very few players have ever had.
Puig went through plenty of ups and downs in his tenure with the Dodgers, which ended this past offseason after being traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer.
While he had great moments in his six years with the Dodgers, he was never quite able to harness all of that talent and develop into a top-five or 10 player in the game.
Puig now enters the final year of his contract with the Reds, so he will have extra incentive to play hard in 2019. In an interview with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Puig was very candid in admitting that he did not work as hard as he could have while with the Dodgers since he wasn’t yet playing for a new contract:
“The last couple of years, I didn’t work hard because I still have a contract to go,” Puig said. “Now, I think work harder than any year of my life.”
While Puig was certainly a fan favorite in Los Angeles, his comments cannot sit well among those who supported him at Dodger Stadium and have been itching for a World Series Championship for the past 30 years.
In 125 games for the Dodgers last season, Puig hit .267/.327/.494 with 23 home runs, 63 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He largely struggled against left-handed pitching, which led to him being platooned for in the second half of the season.
Puig recently said he is looking forward to the chance to get to play every day with the Reds to prove that he can hit both righties and lefties.
If the 28-year-old has a strong season in Cincinnati then he could be in for a lucrative contract next winter, although teams could be wary after seeing these comments about his work ethic.