Saturday, July 4, 2015

For the first time, I seriously wonder if the Dodgers will trade Puig

Let me start off by stating this: I am not advocating for the Dodgers to go ahead and move Yasiel Puig to another team.  If I'm the GM, I'm not pulling the trigger on that right now.

But let's also get something straight: for the first time since Puig came to the Dodgers in 2013, I'm starting to seriously wonder if the Dodgers will be open to trading him.  That's how crazy things are getting with him.

I have no knowledge this will happen, or that the front office is even thinking about it.  I'm just a huge fan who happens to follow his favorite team very closely (hence, me writing this blog), and I call it like I see it.  Puig looks uninspired, and combining that with all the recent reports of just how negative a clubhouse influence he has been, it's gotten me to this point.

In 34 games this year, Puig is hitting .286 with three homers and 10 RBIs.  That's right - he's barely a home run threat anymore, and with runners in scoring position, he's hitting an even worse .152 (5-for-33).  What stinks even more is that with RISP and two outs, he's a pathetic .059 (1-for-17).  I don't care who you are, that's really bad.

Don Mattingly recently made a bit of news when he challenged Puig to start adjusting his hitting. He didn't get into specifics too much, but it doesn't take a baseball whiz to guess that Puig is probably not the type to study video of the opposing pitcher's tendencies, or to study his own video for how to improve his mechanics.  It's see the ball, swing as hard as you can, and hope for the best.

Now that he's been in the big leagues for about two full seasons, pitchers are doing a much better job exploiting his weaknesses, such as fastballs inside and breaking stuff away.  If he showed any desire to make adjustments at the plate, do you really think Mattingly would make such a statement when he first came back from injury?  That's doubtful.

In the field, Puig can still flat out catch and it and throw it.  Nobody can take that away from him, which is why he's still so valuable to the team.  His body language, however, continues to disappoint.  He somehow looks even more bored and annoyed when he's catching fly balls, as if he can't possibly believe a hitter would dare test him.  I know he's always done that, but it looks even worse now.  It shows his head is not where it should be.

So basically, he's not hitting that well, and his moodiness carries out onto the field on defense.  Throw that together, and add in the front office's desire to cleanout all of the nonsense that has plagued this team in the past, and the writing might be on the wall.  Maybe not this year, but in the offseason, Puig could be on his way out.

Right now Puig is in the middle of a seven-year, $42 million contract he inked starting in 2012.  He's earning $4.5 million this year, and that will tick up another $1 million until it's over following the 2018 season.  Considering how bloated many contracts are, this one is actually very team-friendly, and one many other clubs would jump at to bring into the fold.

The best thing Puig can do is to simply WAKE UP.  Have a plan at the plate that doesn't involve swinging for the fences that he rarely clears anymore, or swinging and missing while trying to stay in his cleats.  It wouldn't hurt to also look like he gives more of a crap in the field as well.  Oh, and no more reports of being a freakin' prima donna like when he first came up.

If changes aren't made, then like I said above, I really am starting to think the Dodgers will want to trade him.  That was once unthinkable to me, but not anymore.  He is who he is.