Posted on August 2, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to demote outfielder Yasiel Puig to the minors on Tuesday after he was not with the team when they flew to Denver on Monday in preparation for a series with the Colorado Rockies. The team made efforts on Monday to trade Puig before the non-waiver trade deadline. Those efforts failed, but the team did acquire outfielder Josh Reddick, as well as pitcher Rich Hill, in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. Reddick is expected to supplant Puig in right field.
“I’m told he was not at the park,” Puig’s agent, Adam Katz, explained. “The club informed me, and the player understood clearly that they were making every effort to trade him and that if they were unable to come to terms with another club on a trade — and successful in acquiring another outfielder — that he likely would be demoted. My understanding is that transaction will happen tomorrow.”
Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi declined to comment about Puig at a press conference announcing the trade for Reddick and Hill. However, manager Dave Roberts tried to clear some things up. “[Puig] did what the organization asked him to do,” Roberts said. “We didn’t want him to come to the ballpark because we knew he wasn’t going to Denver with us. We were looking for more production from that position, so we acquired a player [Reddick] who is having a really good year and great track record.”
Los Angeles reportedly made a strong push to trade Puig at the deadline but struggled to find any team willing to make a deal for him. Despite his immense talent and affordable contract, Puig’s value on the trade market is down in the midst of a season in which he’s hitting .260 with a .706 OPS. His baseball fundamentals and IQ, not to mention his work ethic and attitude, have all been called into question during his tenure with the Dodgers, making other teams hesitant to take a chance on him.
A demotion to the minors may actually be what’s best for Puig at this point in time, although there’s no denying it completes a long fall from grace since his sensational rookie season in 2013. Barring an injury, it stands to reason that the Dodgers will keep Puig in the minors for a month and bring him back in September when rosters expand, although no one with the club has stated that as the plan.
In the meantime, the Dodgers surely upgraded their lineup with the addition of Reddick, who likely becomes the team’s every day right fielder. Assuming Hill recovers from a nagging blister and returns from the DL, the Dodgers also added a frontline starting pitcher on Monday. Those two additions, at least in theory, should be enough to propel the Dodgers into the postseason. Los Angeles is currently two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and holds a 2.5 game lead atop the wild card standings. They return to action Tuesday against the Rockies, and they will do so with Puig out of the picture.