Yasiel Puig was an Atlanta Braves player, and then he wasn’t.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig appeared to be headed to the Atlanta Braves before a positive coronavirus test called the signing off.
Puig announced on social media that he tested positive for the virus that has shuttered businesses across the country, including major league baseball for nearly four months. He says he is asymptomatic and feels fine. He will remain in quarantine until he receives two negative test results.
"“I am sorry to share with my fans, friends, and family who follow me and who really support me, that I have just been notified that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Puig’s statement said."
Atlanta never reached a formal agreement with Puig, but were advancing toward adding him to their roster until he tested positive for Covid-19. The news of the deal falling apart was first reported by The Athletic. According to Yahoo, Puig told the club he had been exposed to someone who had tested positive, so instead of flying to Atlanta, he took a test in Miami where he learned the diagnosis.
With the season set to begin next week and the uncertainty surrounding the timing for when it will be safe for Puig to return, the Braves will probably look in another direction to try to fill the gap created in their lineup from Nick Markakis opting out.
There will be plenty of suitors to sign Yasiel Puig
While it’s possible the two sides revisit a deal, there are other suitors who could convince the former All-Start to sign with them once he proves to be healthy. Both the Orioles and Giants are among potential fits, per Jon Heyman. The Red Sox have also been linked to Puig this offseason.
The 29-year-old former Dodger played for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds last season, producing a combined 1.2 wins above replacement. While his defense has fallen off in recent seasons, he remains a power threat at the plate, and with the addition of the designated hitter to the National League, it would seem there will be plenty of potential landing spots for the Cuban star.
In his statement announcing his positive test, Puig urged others to take the virus seriously.
"“I would have never believed looking in the mirror that I had COVID-19,” Puig wrote on Instagram. “I urge everyone to take this pandemic seriously, this can happen to anyone, even the healthiest athlete.”"
While it would be exciting to see Puig back in Dodger blue, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. The Dodgers are stacked up-and-down the lineup with plenty of options to fill in the DH spot. Manager Dave Roberts has indicated he plans on using the extra lineup role to give everyday players partial days off. With the addition of Mookie Betts and the return of AJ Pollock, there aren’t many openings in the outfield either.