The Dodgers have placed outfielder Yasiel Puig on revocable trade waivers, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). While Rosenthal expects someone to claim Puig, he points out (on Twitter) that a trade is likelier to occur in the offseason. By waiting until then to deal Puig, the Dodgers would be able to negotiate with the rest of the league, whereas their market would be limited to only the claiming team this season.
After bursting on the scene in 2013 and providing superstar-caliber production through the 2014 campaign, Puig has regressed significantly over the past two seasons. This year has been especially difficult for Puig, whom the Dodgers optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Aug. 2. Prior to his demotion, Puig batted a disappointing .260/.320/.386 while posting a league-worst 25.3 percent infield fly rate in 303 plate appearances. He has since torn through Pacific Coast League pitching, having slashed .375/.420/.641 in 69 PAs, and his major league replacement – trade deadline acquisition Josh Reddick – has hit a terrible .141/.202/.154 this month. Nevertheless, there’s no indication that the Dodgers are going to recall Puig this year.
There have long been concerns about Puig’s clubhouse presence and maturity, though FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Thursday that his behavior since going to Oklahoma City has drawn positive reviews.
“At some point, the talent, the maturity is going to take hold,” a Dodgers official told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe last week. “Someone will benefit from it. We hope it’s us, but it’s hard to envision it right now.”
Puig is only 25, so he could indeed regain form and benefit the Dodgers or another club down the line. Given his upside and reasonable contract, a deal seems likely by the offseason if the Dodgers decide they want no part of Puig at the major league level anymore. Puig is controllable for the next three seasons, and he’s set to earn at least $14MM through 2017. He also has the right to opt into arbitration, though his poor 2016 showing could prevent him from taking that route.