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Dodgers: Why LA Shouldn’t Ever Consider Bringing Back Yasiel Puig

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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11 Comments

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  1. Puig gets far too much credit for the 2013 summer surge and Hanley Ramirez gets far too little.

  2. The Dodgers do not have 4 quality outfielders. Taylor is a top utility man who also plays the outfield. He’s an average outfielder. Puig could have grown up. He might be an asset. You never know. You never say never.

    • Well two major league outfielders. Jury is out on belli. Outman and mcKinstry. Prospects? The writer is such a funny guy.

  3. Puig has a great arm and a .263 BA doesn’t look too bad. However, a team also gets the base running errors and the bench clearing brawls. After hopefully losing a poorly behaving pitcher, lets skip on the problem child outfielder.

  4. Puig has a great arm, and a .263 BA looks pretty good. But you also get the base running errors and the bench clearing brawls. We can make it without him.

  5. It’s hard to see the Dodgers getting involved with any player with sexual harassment, abuse or character flaws similar to Baur. The team’s reputation could not stand another hit in that area especially knowing Puig’s past.

  6. Gosh, I hope the Dodgers don’t for one second re-consider Puig playing in blue. Trying to deal with Trevor Bauer “off-field” is really enough of a blot on the team, front office and back, isn’t it? The Dodgers is the team of Magic Johnson, Billie Jean King, and many of us who love and play sports and continue to work hard to make sports become more egalitarian, and to support players — whether in baseball, tennis, hockey….whatever — who will be good role models for drawing into their sport younger and talented players, who will not be abusers of others, their team, or their sport.

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