“The Wild Horse” has been one of the most commonly shopped players for the Dodgers ever since his collapse in 2016. Once Puig seemingly failed to reach some of his lofty upside, the team seemed to decide that despite the fan’s love for Puig, he was expendable.
Not only do I feel that Puig should be kept for 2019, I think Puig should be extended long term. Puig is, to me, a potential Los Angeles lifer as he has performed in the playoffs and during the regular season and has transformed himself from a potential-bust into a clubhouse and community favorite with national appeal.
Despite his reinvention and budding national celebrity, I still feel Puig has more value to the Dodgers than he would to any other team. By taking Puig out of Dodger blue, he loses some of the LA allure and star power that has created his giant personality. It also makes the team who loves him and the fans who adore him question the direction the franchise is going in.
If Puig, an All-Star caliber player with highlight-reel defensive ability and 25-30 home run power, and not to mention a knack for clutch performance, is dealt for prospects and Homer Bailey’s inflated salary, or for an aging ace in Kluber as has been discussed, I feel that the return is not worth it. While it may be worth it purely through an economical lense, the uproar it would create is not worth it.
In the end, Puig and the Dodger clubhouse should not have to be subjected to the swirling flurries of rumors surrounding such a polarizing and exciting figure, as it could end up being distracting and hurt his performance.
If trade rumors persist, there is always the possibility that he may not even want to play for a team that seems so eager to trade him. Whenever the subject of Puig is broached, I would advise the Dodgers’ front office, in my humble and not-so-important opinion, to tread with caution.