While the Los Angeles Dodgers met at Dodger Stadium to board a bus that would drive them to a chartered flight bound for Denver, they did so without Yasiel Puig. The 25-year-old outfielder, who, when healthy, has been a mainstay in the outfield, was instructed to stay home.
The Dodgers were attempting to trade Puig before Monday’s non-waiver deadline and their backup plan was to option him to the Minors. The clock struck midnight — or 1 p.m. PT — and Puig remained part of the Dodgers organization.
He was formally demoted to the Minors on Tuesday, and is expected to report to Triple-A Oklahoma City at some point over the weekend.
One day prior to the saga unfolding, Puig said his hope was to remain with the only organization he’s known since defecting from Cuba, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
“If they decide to trade me, then I’ll have to go to another team and work hard there. I just came to this country to play baseball. I would like to stay here. But I also understand this is a business. You never know where you are going to end up.”
Puig has again been hampered by hamstring issues that limited him to a career-low 79 games last season. A left hamstring strain forced Puig to the 15-day disabled list in June, and he recently missed a stretch of games due to right hamstring tightness.
While the demotion is related to off-the-field matters, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expressed optimism Puig would benefit from being in the Minors, in what were Friedman’s first public remarks on the club’s decision.