Yasiel Puig reported to be claimed off waivers

Listen to this article

It has been reported by John Heyman on Today’s Knuckleball that Yasiel Puig has been claimed on waivers by a team  that has yet to be named. The Dodgers can either work out a deal for trade with the claiming team or they can just give Puig to that team — including the two years and $14 million dollars left on his contract.

Puig has been a controversial, and some times polarizing figure on the Dodgers team, with reports of him feuding with teammates and management since joining the team in Jube 2013.

Puig-Jackie-Robinson-WMHe had a remarkable rookie season, hitting four home runs and 10 RBI in his first five games. Despite his late start to the season that year Puig made the All-Star Game, getting the second most fan votes. he seemed to fit in with the Dodgers high-powered game.

In 2014 Puig was instrumental in the Dodgers come back from the bottom of the National League West Division in June of that year to the division title when the regular season ended. In that year his batting average was .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBI. He didn’t do so well in the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out seven times in a row in the first three games.

In 2015 Puig started having issues with the hamstring in his left leg, causing hime to miss games. News reports were claiming, from anonymous sources, Puig was at the center of a lot of clubhouse drama, that including alleged altercations with pitcher Zack Greinke who was, at the time, the Dodgers #2 starter. The members of the Dodgers have not aired their dirty laundry in public, so much of what has been reported has not been confirmed, but the frequency of the reports — by credible sources like Yahoo News — and what appears to be dissatisfaction from management lends credence to the stories for many Dodgers fans and observers.

At the beginning of the 2016 season Puig made a comment to TMZ about buying a helicopter to get to Dodger Stadium, in an effort to stem his habitual tardiness. The Dodgers management put an end to that idea because it is not allowed by the FAA.

Yasiel-Puig-WMWhen the 2016 season started Puig’s playing time was sporadic, due to injuries and his output was not what it had been in  the previous three seasons. On August 2 of this year Puig was optioned to AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers in exchange for Josh Reddick, who came over from the Oakland A’s. After going to Oklahoma City Puig “disappointed” management even more when he and some of his teammates broadcast their obscenity-laden party on social media after a loss in Des Moines, Iowa. Dodgers President Andrew Friedman issued a statement saying, “We are aware of what Yasiel posted on social media last night and while we are disappointed in his and some of our other players’ judgement, this is a matter we will address internally.”

Although the Dodgers are leading their division at the moment, their winning percentage since Puig was sent to the minors is .538. Reddick has not produced at the plate the way management had hoped he would.

For his part, Puig has been performing well on the field, hitting .369 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games in AAA. The big question is: are the Dodgers willing to let him go now, or will they hold on to him and try to make a trade in the off season? The trade deadline for players on waivers is Thursday, August 31, if the team wants to have them eligible for the post-season.

Photos by Claudia Gestro