Yasiel Puig keeps digging himself deeper in Dave Roberts' doghouse

Everything should be hunky dory with the Los Angeles Dodgers these days. The club has clinched a playoff spot, owns the best record in baseball and pulled itself out of a late-season tailspin. But it wouldn’t be the Dodgers without a little bit of drama.

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That drama is coming from a usual source. Outfielder Yasiel Puig did not show up on time to Dodger Stadium on Monday, and was benched by manager Dave Roberts for Monday’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Puig has struggled with tardiness at various points in his career.

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Making matters worse is that Puig was being benched for disciplinary reasons prior to Monday. He did not play in Sunday’s game after a base-running mishap Saturday. That wasn’t the only reason, though. When asked why Puig wasn’t playing Sunday, Roberts didn’t mince words.

So, yeah, probably not a great time to show up late for work. Puig has now irritated his manager at least twice in the past three days. Likely more, as Roberts indicated in Andy McCullough’s tweet above.


After these repeated violations, it’s unclear how long Puig will remain out.

Including Monday, the Dodgers only have six games remaining in the regular season. Puig declined to comment on his situation.

The 26-year-old has turned in a bit of a comeback season, but his numbers are far below the promise he showed earlier in his career. Puig has hit .259/.339/.474, with 26 home runs, over 554 plate appearances.


While that’s still a solid slash line — 13 percent above the league average according to wRC+ — it’s worth wondering whether Puig is in jeopardy of being left off the postseason roster. Maybe that’s taking things too far, but it’s tough to read Roberts saying he can’t trust Puig and feel like the outfielder is guaranteed a spot on the playoff roster.

Yasiel Puig has made his manager angry over the past couple days. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Yasiel Puig has made his manager angry over the past couple days. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It also doesn’t help that the Dodgers have the deepest team in baseball. They could conceivably leave Puig off the National League Division Series roster and still use a combination of Chris Taylor, Curtis Granderson, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Trayce Thompson and Enrique Hernandez in the outfield. They have options.

Puig’s saving grace may be his strong defense. By FanGraphs’ metrics, Puig rates as the second-best defensive right fielder in baseball this season, behind Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts. Defensive metrics can be wonky in one-year sample, but Puig has consistently been a strong fielder who makes highlight-caliber plays and has a cannon for an arm, so we’re inclined to buy them in this instance.


And, hey, maybe this is a huge overreaction on our part. Maybe Roberts is just trying to motivate Puig and really make a point with just a few games left before the postseason. But the fact that we’re even having this debate tells you how thin of ice Puig is skating on right now.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik