Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig enjoyed himself on the field with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but doesn’t have happy memories of the franchise after he was traded. Puig said he still doesn’t understand why the Dodgers decided to send him away, according to Jon Taylor of Sports Illustrated.
Puig’s main complaint about the deal: The Dodgers didn’t get anyone back who was as good as him.
“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.”
On Dec. 21, Puig, Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood were all sent to the Reds in exchange for Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
While Downs and Gray have yet to reach the majors, neither is regarded on the same level as Puig. The now 28-year-old Puig signed with the Dodgers as a 21-year-old in 2012. Prior to the 2013 season, he ranked No. 43 on Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list. Puig reached the majors and hit .319/.391/.534 in 432 plate appearances in his rookie season.
Puig’s sophomore season offered the same promise, but after that, his numbers declined. Over his last four seasons, he’s averaged a .263/.331/.464 slash line. The Dodgers platooned him in 2018.
If Puig really is the best player involved in the trade, the Dodgers likely won’t care. For them, the deal was less about the return and more about staying under the luxury tax. The Dodgers accomplished that, and likely have no regrets.
Still, Puig should have the opportunity to prove the Dodgers wrong. He’ll be a full-time player, and has already made comments suggesting he’s working hard. Puig is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, so he doesn’t lack for motivation.
If Puig can regain his old form, he’ll head into next offseason looking to break the bank with a mega contract. Based on the comments Puig has made all offseason, we wouldn’t expect that deal to come with the Dodgers.
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