After years of speculation and failed attempts to trade Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers at last moved on from the polarizing outfielder this past offseason by packing him in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Dodgers received prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray, as well as Homer Bailey, in exchange for Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Puig and Alex Wood. Bailey waived his 10-and-5 no-trade clause to facilitate the deal with an understanding he would be waived.
The veteran right-hander went on to sign a Minor League contract with the Kansas City Royals. Thus the Dodgers were essentially left with two Minor Leaguers and financial flexibility.
Some expected that to lead to the signing of Bryce Harper or trade for a prominent talent such as Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber or J.T. Realmuto. None of those scenarios manifested, with the Dodgers instead signing A.J. Pollock.
Puig was hypercritical in analyzing what the Dodgers received in their trade with the Reds, via Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated:
“It’s their problem,” Puig says of the Dodgers’ decision to move him. “I don’t know what they did with that trade, because they didn’t get anyone who could help them the way I could. But that’s business.”
Though the Dodgers are to thank for Puig finding success after defecting from Cuba, his six seasons with the team certainly included several bumps along the way.
Puig had a spectacular MLB debut in June 2013 and was an All-Star in 2014. However, he then struggled with injuries and had multiple run-ins with teammates. Puig’s work ethic also came into question, which led to the Dodgers demoting him to Triple-A Oklahoma City in August 2016 after failed trade attempts.
Puig did return from his stay in the Minors with a renewed attitude and focus, earning him praise from Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts, among others.
Though, the club’s platoon strategy did not sit well with Puig and he was said to have grown leery of the front office. Puig highlighted an opportunity to play on a daily basis as one of the benefits with being traded to the Reds.