With the recent struggles of Dodgers’ OF Yasiel Puig, the question is starting to circulate: Should he be traded?
This past offseason, the rumors of a possible trade of Yasiel Puig intensified for the first time in the young outfielder’s career. In 2015, Puig battled multiple injuries and stints on the DL, which resulted in his worst season to date. The Dodgers heavily denied the trade rumors heading into spring training and stuck with him, committing to Puig as the starting right fielder for this season.
Maybe the idea of trading was not a terrible one, as Puig is only hitting .237 this season with only 5 HR and 20 RBI. Puig also went on the DL last week due to a hamstring strain, his third stint since the beginning of last season. With all of this taken into consideration and the recent resurgence of fellow OF Trayce Thompson, should Puig be traded?
The first point I’d like to make for trading Puig is obvious, the injury history. Staying healthy is the most important thing for athletes in the game today if you cannot play how are you going to produce? Puig’s three DL stints have all been hamstring related, which calls into question if this will be a recurring issue. Puig plays right field, which requires a lot of athleticism to play. As Alex mentioned in his article against trading Puig, he pointed out Puig’s excellent defensive play. Puig is tied for second in the MLB with 11 defensive runs saved.
As Alex makes that point as a reason to keep Puig, I believe this point can be a huge bonus in trading Puig. As Puig continues to struggle for the second straight year, we are seeing his trade stock plummet. But how far has it dropped? As Puig is only owed about 8 million per year for the next three seasons, this could make him an ideal trade target for contenders around the deadline. Puig is not a defensive liability, which makes him a solid trade target based on this and his contract alone. Along with all of that, the upside of the 25-year-old outfielder is limitless.
Trading Puig also gives the Dodgers the possibility of adding a quality bat to their lineup or some top level prospects to their system. The potential suitors that could make sense for Puig would be the Kansas City Royals or the Atlanta Braves. Both clubs have a need that Puig would fill, along with the pieces to make the move make sense for the Dodgers. The Royals have been without OF Alex Gordon due to injury, and also have the farm system to make a move for Puig. The Braves are a rebuilding team that desperately needs some younger bats to build towards the future with. I believe Puig’s struggles right now would not be able to net a huge prospect like SS Dansby Swanson from Atlanta, but OF Nick Markakis and a minor league arm might make sense. The Dodgers could get back a quality top of the order bat to replace Puig and build up their farm as well.
Speaking of the farm system, OF Alex Verdugo is doing extremely well this season for the Tulsa Drillers in AA. Verdugo was a second-round pick of the Dodgers back in 2014 who has flown up the Dodgers system at just the age of 20. Verdugo is impressing with a slash line of .283/.340/.462 to go with 8 HR and 30 RBI. Verdugo is a top-ranked outfielder in the system, while also being 6th on the list overall. His play is not hurting the defense of trading Puig, as it seems that more talent is steadily rising in the system to possibly replace Puig.
Along with all of the reasons above, a key reason to also discuss is the play of Trayce Thompson. Thompson has shocked everyone so far, proving that he may not be just a role player after all. Thompson is hitting a steady .271 to go with 10 HR and 22 RBI. If Thompson continues his steady play, one might think that the thought may cross the Dodgers’ minds to possibly move Puig.
Yasiel Puig has been one of the most exciting players in the game since his arrival in 2013. Although exciting, his production is slowly getting worse and worse after the past two seasons. This might be the only chance to sell Puig, due to his decline. If Puig’s slump continues at this rate, he might not have any solid return value. This seems to be the best time to sell Puig, for the risk of him falling off, even more, will not be worth the reward of the return we would receive this year.