While much of the narrative surrounding Yasiel Puig’s demotion focuses on his personality, clubhouse demeanor and off-field/social media antics, ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider subscription required and recommended) that the largest factor in Puig’s demotion by the Dodgers is that he simply isn’t a good hitter right now. Law breaks down Puig’s approach at the plate, noting that he’s getting killed on inside fastballs that he once handled with aplomb and has become shockingly susceptible to offspeed and breaking pitches on the outer edge of the plate. Puig has swung and missed at nearly 29 percent of sliders, curveballs, and changeups on the outer third of the plate or just off the outer edge — a rate that is four times higher than his ability to put said pitches in play, Law notes. He surmises that Puig’s demotion isn’t about subtracting his personality from the clubhouse or even getting him back on track. Rather, Law concludes that a team in a tightly contested division race simply can’t afford to carry a hitter as poor as Puig currently is. Here’s more from the NL.
- Padres lead investor Peter Seidler says the team’s seemingly ill-fated bid at contention last season was “probably pretty close to neutral” from a financial perspective, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The team’s acquisitions of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, James Shields, Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel and others only resulted in a disappointing season, although Seidler says they produced a “big pop” in revenue. Now, of course, the Padres have chosen a different direction, aiming to rebuild around young talent. “We’re taking all of our poker chips and putting it in the center of the table on this strategy,” says Seidler, although he does note that the Padres won’t be “intentionally bad” as they reset, deliberately putting a weak team on the field in the hopes of landing top draft picks.
- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin says teams looking for offensive upgrades should pay attention to what Ryan Howard has done lately, Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com writes. “If I were a playoff team, I’d take notice,” says Mackanin. “What [Howard] did tonight is something he’s capable of doing, either as a DH or a pinch-hitter off the bench. He’s just swinging the bat, coming up with big hits.” That sounds like just a bit of salesmanship regarding a player who’s still hitting just .195/.244/.435, although Howard hit fairly well in July and is 10-for-20 with three home runs so far in August. The Phillies would also presumably be willing to take on some of the approximately $16MM remaining on Howard’s contract (including his $10MM 2017 buyout). As Seidman notes, though, there aren’t many obvious fits for Howard on contenders’ rosters.
Just Another Fan
I don’t buy Law’s take on Puig, there’s plenty of .706 OPS full time guys out there. Sure he’s not the elite .925 OPS guy this year like he was in his rookie year, but his BABIP this year is .307, compared with the .383 of his rookie year, so maybe he was never elite, just lucky? Regardless there’s a LOT of worse hitters out there and there’s no real reason to send him down other than him being a very annoying guy to manage. Puig is a classic example of a 5 star talent with a 1 star brain, Brett Lawrie is in the same boat.
I agree. Given Puig’s batting line, the case for him as a “massive liability” in the lineup has to be taken as a massive exaggeration. Law’s argument is based on which “narrative” on Puig should rule. Accepting his narrative requires dismissing everything management has said publicly about the Puig situation, and a awful lot of what we’ve seen in Puig’s behavior, on field and off, over the years. So maybe the problem here is the perceived need to explain everything with a single narrative.
RyÅn W Krol
All Keith Law does is play on the narratives. He’ll go in-depth by illustrating and exaggerating what’s already trendy.
I wonder if he never had that big season, would anyone think he’s failing? As I’ve said before I don’t like the guy but I feel like if a player has a huge season then regress to the mean in later seasons they are considered failures. Whereas an average player who is always average is treated differently.
Just Another Fan
Thing with Puig (and Lawrie, funnily enough) are their ages. Puig is still only 25, Lawrie 26 – they are still putting up decent numbers on the field, so they aren’t in danger of Bobby Crosby’ing or Brandon Woodsing themselves out of the game, and there’s plenty of guys who experienced beginners luck like they did then a huge sophomore slump or regression to the mean, but later “figured it out” – “it” being what was blocking the 5 star talent from on-field production – who had success later in the game.
With guys like this, it’s usually just some minor adjustment, such as the leg kick late bloomers like Bautista, Donaldson, Werth et al have employed – but due to his clear mental lapses in the field, Puig appears to have ADD or something similar, would be curious to see if that was the case and what him on meds like Chris Davis takes (another early success/regress to mean/explode to stardom guy) looks like.
The other pretty clear issue is the frequency of his hamstring injuries, which seem to point to a lack of conditioning. Trainers help players with stuff like this but it seems Puig lacks the work habits for the instruction to take.
To much conditioning is possible as well
This would all be speculative but such hamstring issues are understandable if it’s true he not going to prehab. It can also be related to nutrition especially if he’s not hydrated well. Who knows. What it comes down to is Puig is an average player yet his tools seem to suggest he should be something more. Right now he is an athlete playing baseball not a baseball player who is an athlete. I hope he eventually figures it out because he could be good for baseball but I can bet it won’t be with the Dodgers.
Regardless his faults as a hitter are pitch recognition and fluidity. He can’t get through his swing. Instead of letting the bat head work he can’t help but try to muscle pitches up. Exactly why you see pitchers dotting him in. Once you see him cheat inside its too easy to go away because he can’t cover the mid-away portion. So you see him flail not recognizing spin. He’s become a punching Judy hitter because he doesn’t truly have a plan and/or doesn’t understand his adjustments.
Phillies should trade Howard next season all he does is strike out
They have been trying to trade him for years. Nobody wants him. Even when he put up a low BA he still hit 100 RBI a season and nobody wanted him. Shame because he seems to be a nice fella and even though he’s not on my team, I’d like to see him play well.
Just Another Fan
5 years. $150M. To a 32 year old. Who had an .859 and .835 OPS the previous two seasons; three years removed from his last elite season. Who looks like a linebacker and weighs 250+ pounds. They wanted to see what that at 37 looked like, and they deemed it worth 23 million dollars. None of this makes sense.
This is a mistake the Phillies must be doomed to play out. They did this to themselves.
He won’t be a Phillie next year. After this season is over, Phils will surely exercise the $10 Mil buyout instead of paying him $25 mil
He’s a FA after this season
Klaw doing dirty work… Puig not the head case he once was, main problem now is getting him to stay healthy
I’d love to get Howard for the Rockies. Honestly, I wanted him on the Rox 2 years ago, with the Phils paying salary of course. Mark Reynolds is probably out for the year. Since they didn’t sell, you might as well try. Ben Paulsen is not a starting first baseman for a wild card contending team.
I think he would do well for the Rockies. Change of scenery, chance to play every day, hitters ballpark. I would love to see what would happen if he went there.
neither is Ryan Howard
Just Another Fan
lmao, true. Howard has a .244 OBP A-Rod just got fired for having a .247 OBP!!!
Neither is Ryan Howard
I’d rather have a has been like Howard than a never been and never will be like Paulsen. At the very least Howard would bring pennant race and playoff experience to the Rockies clubhouse which is in very short supply
Just Another Fan
You gotta get to the postseason first. To do that, you do not replace a regular with a worse version. They’re called “upgrades” for a reason. Go get Danny Valencia, a guy who can actually hit, instead.
Rockies aren’t a wild card contending team… hate to break that news to you.
Wild card contending? Aren’t the Rockies like 4 games under 500?
Only one thing I disagree with this article: the recommendation of ESPN Insider. Largely irrelevant and a waste of money. Most of the takes given by Keith Law are echoed by guys at other free websites.
I spent the money for 1 year of Insider and found myself using it about 2-3 times in that year, again, thanks to free content elsewhere. Not to mention, I found very little of their content helpful.
To each their own, I guess.
AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Last 7 Games
25 7 11 3 10 0 3
0 .440 .440 .920
Last 15 Games
40 8 15 4 12 1 10 0 .375 .390 .775
Last 30 Games
85 11 24 7 19 4 23 0 .282 .315 .588
Its all about “what have you done for me lately” – and Howard has been smoking hot.
The first time I saw Puig play, how he carried himself and all that….I knew he was the second coming of Junior Felix.
He’ll be out of baseball in due time.
Puig is going to be on a team and killing it. How about we turn our attention to the $300M+ payroll LAD and how they can’t seem to progress any Cuban bought so far.
SS was a waste
Diaz kicked out of org after being a rave in spring
Puig has 2 speeding tickets. UZR thinks he’s great a defense and the kid hit fine since he came off the DL. He also hit great the first 2wk of the season prior to the DL stint.
Utley, AGone, Kendrick, Turner…there’s not one player with a big personality in LA.
LA are the stuck up NYY of the West. Always has been and always will be.
Managers protect players from the media and why Manny succeeded under Francona.
Mattingly not only threw Puig under the bus but allowed players such as Grienke to throw him under the bus in the media.
Puig was not ready mentally for MLB but the LAD were bad, again, and he took them to the playoffs.
Let me say this again, the LAD are a $300+M payroll team fighting for the wild card.
There’s not one person in America questioning why they continue to fail at progressing international talent.
Well, that settles it.
Just Another Fan
Almost every team in baseball has an albatross contract, or a contract they’d like to get out from under. The Dodgers spending $300 mill to challenge for a postseason berth doesn’t seem that bad. If they were a last place $300 mill team, then we’d have a problem.
No its still pretty bad they have $300 mill and cant even get into the WS.
Had they been in a WS and lost thats one thing. They havent even done that.
Furthermore its not just an albatross contract here there etc.
Olivera puig guerrero the guy with the long name and attitude problems. Theyve given out nearly $150 million it seems and look at what that got them.
They aren’t albatross contracts when the player is no longer on the roster.
They don’t pay Olivera after last year. Guerrero they owe 5 mill in 17, Arrumbarrena they owe a total of 10 until 18, Puig they owe 6 until 18. It sounds like criticism is upon the Colletti era as the albatrosses of contracts in CC and Ethier are you’re truly available options.
1. Theyre still on the hook for anout 4.7 million of olivera contract in money they gave to atlanta.
2. Crawford 21, guerrero 5 million. Arruebarena 5.5 mill, olivera 4.7 mill. Thats literally 35+ million youre paying for guys to NOT play for you in 2017.
2018 youre still paying arruebarena 6.5 million and olivera 4.7 million to NOT play for you in 2018.
While it might not hurt the dodgers financially due to their spending ability its still 48+ million for guys to not play for you the next two years after this season.
Considering collectively that in 2017 the dodgers are paying 35+ million at the moment for guys to not play gor them. The collective serves as a hefty albatross contract on the books for 2017.
Only if those financial obligations prevent them from making any moves they’d like to make. The evidence for that being the case is… zero.
No they aren’t they actually pay all of Olivera’s bonus so they no longer are on the hook.
Olivera counts against the cap because of the prorated portion of the bonus but their financial obligations are already paid out. The 39 mill they are paying for Ethier and CC mercifully come of the books after next year. Here’s the thing though, the Dodgers spent all this money to get back in the good graces of fans. Let’s not forget how terrible McCourt was and how the fans lost all trust. It was penny pinching and that lead to the depleted farm. The Dodgers have actually done a pretty good job of eliminating some of the albatross contracts that could have turned this team into the Yankees. Add onto that it can be safely said they be under the estimated $200-$220 cap next year.
Yeah, I am pretty sure that money LA has spent on guys to not play for them could have been used to sign Andrew Miller or any other notable reliever the past couple years instead of letting the pen be a downfall for the team in previous years. Ranked #13 in 2013. Ranked #22 in 2014. Ranked #20 in 2015
2013- Rafael Soriano got 2 years $28 mill from the Nats. Turned in quality seasons for the Nats in 2013 and 2014.
2014- Joe Smith signed for 3 years $16 million turned in quality seasons for the Angels. Padres signed Benoit to 2 year $15.5 mill had quality seasons.
Dodgers signed Howell and Wilson but scraped the bottom of the barrel with Wright and Mahalom.
2015- Robertson, Miller, Duke, Gregerson, Fransisco Rodriguez.
Pretty good number of available relievers were on the market last year dodgers signed NONE of them.
They went cheap again with McGowan, Adams, Huff, Rowen, Aardsma,
So yeah, pretty sure those financial commitments to players they signed to those deals has already cost them a chance to signed relief help in 2013, 2014, 2015. And will cost them signing adequate rotation options, though the market is slim to being with.
2013 was they year the Dodgers had the best opportunity to win it. Their bullpen was not the downfall of the team. The downfall was when the Cards drilled Hanley in the ribs. 2015 was not the result of the pen it was the result of insufficient offense and the ability to drive runners in. It didn’t help that Grandal limped into the postseason and Pederson had one of the worst second halves in recent history. Puig was in effective.
In 2016 if the Dodgers can’t get Kersh and Hill heathy it’ll be the result of the starting pitching staff. You speak as though the Dodgers can just say I want you and all FA relief pitchers want to come. It was clear that Miller and Robertson did not want to be in LA. There is a reason why Robertson has Dodgers on his no trade list. They came second fiddle to the O’s because O’Day wanted to stay close to home with his wives career. People also seem to forget that Howell was the best dodgers reliever (with the exception of Jansen) until this year as Father Time has caught up to him. The dead money certainly did not deter the Dodgers and wasn’t really a factor in recent moves. It actually created space and money for this team to get younger.
Oh the delusion and fallacies. Team bashing. LA media is nothing close to NY and Boston media. They’ve actually given Puig a free pass. If you’re going bash a franchise get it right or at least have legitimate facts to back it up. You can use UZR and BA and twist it to fit your argument all you want. At what point does it become Puig’s fault? Is it 14,15, this year, next year? What screams elite about Puig? UZR is a subjective stat as it hasn’t truly assessed OF performance. If we chose a stat I mean Puig’s .5 WAR says it all. But hey judge previous FO for such a mess. Manny thrived in Cleveland before Boston so your argument is busted right there. But you won’t say it because it doesn’t fit the argument. We’re in a social media age did you think they’d be able to cover up Puig’s immature and unprofessional behavior. But it was the FO that posted the Okc video. Hey you want to go hang then do it. You just got demoted though so why would you post it? Screams I don’t get it. They’ve had two FO regimes and two coaching changes. The common denominator has been oh wait Puig.
Why does LA need a huge personality? is that a staple for winning. It’s truly not but hey let them grind their way as they are actually fighting for a division. did you look beyond the ba .308 sure sound nice, but he became a punching Judy hitter which they hid in the 7 hole. 4xbh 14 rbi’s in 28 games. Yeah he succeeded in the first two weeks he made adjustments but what happened after the pitchers made adjustments back? Sure he made adjustments right after DL but did they truly stick? They are in playoff hunt Puig
If he was that important of player wouldn’t have been sent down. Sorry I’m not buying the argument. But continue to present a false narrative.
Oh but it wasn’t mentioned that he was continuously late to hitters meetings, didn’t show to prehab, and became a clubhouse minus. It doesn’t take much to be a professional.
Btw it’s $252 all said and done. It be right around soft cap next year. Not developing int talent has nothing to do with the development in the minors. Alvarez has grown, Sierra started to streamline, Urias graduated,DeLeon is close, Diaz and Estevez seem to be figuring it out.
So according to Fowler, the Padres are not going to try to tank as hard as possible? Are they still shooting a return to contention around 2019 or so?
I think what Fowler meant was they wont sacrifice service time on players who need developing just to get MLB experience next couple years. Theyll still sign middle free agent guys and sell them off at the deadline for prospects. Instead of just playing the young controllable talent.
Tanking would to just let guys gather experience the next 2 years, not sign free agents, and let the kids play no matter how much they suck.
Here’s a more obvious thing to have done: some years back, the Phils ownership, knowing they had Howard and Jim Thome back in 2005, should have orchestrated a move for the National League to adopt the DH rule. Back then, it was well-known that certain NL teams were in favor of it. Moreover, the Phillies might well benefit from just re-aligning into the American League, where there IS a DH==because a re-aligned six team Eastern Division of AL Baseball would be Boston, NYYanks, NY Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phils, and Washington Nats. That increases the gate for ALL of those teams substantially, because everyone gets 1) the Yanks and Red Sox 2) the DH 3) all of the history and rivalry 4) the I-95 corridor and 5) an actual Eastern Division.
There just isn’t anything “Eastern” about Toronto, Miami, Atlanta or Tampa Bay. Instead, Miami, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, along with Houston and Texas, should be routed into a “Southern Division” along with St. Louis. And so on and so forth–the AL and NL need to be completely eliminated in favor of geographic re-alignment.
Thus a true Western Division could emerge of Seattle, Oakland, the SF Giants, the Oak As, the LA Angels, the LA Dodgers and the SD Padres. Or if Oakland moves to Las Vegas, it could join Colorado and Arizona to form a Mountain Division, along with Minnesota and Kansas City.
The bottom line being, there would be no need for NL teams to trade, move or release first basemen who can’t field anymore if the NL would just adopt the DH, or baseball would just eliminate the National League and go to geographic alignments. The demarcation of American and National Leagues is anachronistic, no one remembers why they were there, and unless someone is going to actually pay tribute to Connie Mack or Ban Johnson at the next induction at Cooperstown, I respectfully suggest that we get on with the post-1969 changes to the game and modernize it the way it is meant to be.
Philadelphia in particular was always an American League town–we had the Yankees and the Red Sox here all the time visiting the As. By going to geographic realignment, the Phillies can get the best players all the time–the Red Sox, the Yanks, the Mets, the Orioles and the Nats–all in one Monster Eastern Division. Now THAT would be real baseball. And let’s have a DH!!!!