Last week, Yasiel Puig expressed his desire to one day return to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It certainly piqued some interest from Dodgers fans.
“People keeping talking and texting me ‘Hey, come back to Los Angeles.’. It’s not about me, but we’re going to do the best we can everyday now, in Korea, for this season and the next season, to come back to the United States and hope God gives me the opportunity one day to come back to the Dodgers.”
To be blunt, it’s not likely to happen, and it shouldn’t happen.
Puig’s best days in the MLB are behind him.
Puig electrified Chavez Ravine in his debut season in 2013. The “Puig Factor” sparked an incredible 42-8 stretch that summer and powered the Dodgers to their first of eight-consecutive NL West Division titles. He posted a 1.180 OPS in his first month in the bigs and finished second in 2013 NL ROY voting.
He was an All-Star the following season and the 23-year-old appeared to be on track to become one of the best players in baseball. His questionable off-field decisions, including reckless driving and routinely showing up late for the team plane, were shrouded in on-field success.
Then, the rest of the league figured him out.
A Tale of Two Puigs
- 2013-2014: .305/.386/.502
- 2015-2018: .263/.331/.464
The Dodgers simply weren’t going to continue to tolerate a polarizing player who was no longer viewed as a future superstar. LA traded Puig to Cincinnati in December of 2018. Cincinnati then traded him to Cleveland at the deadline the following season.
There wasn’t a “next season” for Puig in MLB.
To be fair, Puig could’ve provided production for a few MLB clubs in the last two years. However, his legal troubles regarding a sexual assault case stemming from a 2018 incident at a Laker game, on top of his reputation in league circles, whether fair or not, kept GMs away.
He’s spent the last two years playing in the Mexican Baseball League and the Dominican Winter League. Puig signed a one-year contract with the Kiwoon Heroes of the KBO for the 2022 season.
Final Puig Thoughts
As for the Dodgers, the club currently has four quality outfielders: Pollock, Bellinger, Betts, and Taylor. They also added promising prospect James Outman to the 40-man. Zach McKinstry could also become a quality everyday player one day. There simply isn’t space for a 31-year-old Puig on the roster. A triumphant return to the Dodgers bench, or minor league system, probably isn’t what he has in mind.
Puig will forever have his rightful spot in Dodgers lore. He had two incredible seasons in Dodgers blue.
That was then, and this is now.
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