9:40pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter) that the White Sox attempted to claim Puig, but he did not make it to them on waivers. That would indicate that either a National League team or one of the few American League teams with a worse record than the ChiSox won the claim. Factoring in previous reports that the Marlins and Braves didn’t make the claim, the team that claimed Puig is one of the Angels, Athletics, Rays, Twins, Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Pirates, Mets, Rockies, Phillies, Brewers, Reds, Padres or D-backs. While that’s clearly an enormous slate of teams, Nightengale’s report does at least eliminate roughly a third of the teams in baseball as a possibility.
4:05pm: Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been claimed on revocable waivers, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports on Twitter. It is not yet clear what organization placed the winning waiver claim — National League clubs would have priority, by inverse order of record — or whether there is any serious possibility of a transaction being worked out.
Los Angeles can, of course, simply allow the claiming team to assume Puig’s contract. Despite his struggles of late, however, it’s hard to imagine that taking place — particularly since the remaining amounts he is guaranteed ($6.5MM in 2017 and $7.5MM in 2018) represent a relative drop in the bucket for the Dodgers.
If anything, L.A. has proven more willing to spend top dollar on risky talent than have other organizations. Though the team’s up-and-down ride with Puig may have impacted its stance on the enigmatic Cuban star, he has done things at the major league level that most players can only dream of.
Puig was one of the best players in baseball in 2013 and 2014, and entered his age-24 campaign like one of the most valuable assets in the game. But he wasn’t quite up to his usual standard in 2015 and fell off even further this year. Since the start of 2016, he has accumulated 303 plate appearances of .260/.320/.386 hitting, thus earning a demotion to Triple-A.
Still, the talented 25-year-old retains plenty of appeal and looks like an intriguing upside play, especially since he is raking and drawing good marks for his clubhouse presence at the highest level of the minors. That he was claimed proves that other organizations aren’t afraid to roll the dice, but the Dodgers won’t likely give those rights away freely. We’ve heard suggestions that the team may yet call him back in September, or otherwise delay trade talks until the offseason, and there’s no indication as yet that a late-breaking August trade is particularly likely.