Two notable Dodgers are on the track for a return to the majors, per reports. The club will recall Yasiel Puig at some point this weekend, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. And president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says that peerless lefty Clayton Kershaw will begin a rehab assignment this weekend, as the Times’ Bill Shaikin tweets.
Puig’s return to the majors promises to be an interesting storyline to follow over the coming weeks and beyond. Trade rumors have swirled around Puig for some time as he struggled on the field and was demoted earlier this year.
The Dodgers pulled their enigmatic outfielder back from waivers after he was claimed (with multiple teams reportedly submitting claims), but some still expect he’ll be dealt this winter. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported (via Twitter) that it was an NL team who won the claim on Puig, and reports have indicated that the White Sox and Orioles made claims of Puig, though they had lower waiver priority than every club in the NL and subsequently didn’t have a chance to swing a deal. Reports have ruled out the Marlins and Braves, and Giants GM Bobby Evans said in a radio appearance with John Middlekauff on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco that his team did not claim Puig (Twitter link).
Regardless of which team it is that was awarded the claim on the mercurial 25-year-old, he’s staying in the only Major League organization he’s ever known. Following his surprising demotion, Puig obliterated Triple-A pitching over 90 plate appearances, slashing .358/.422/.605. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that he’ll prove an impactful addition for the NL West-leading Dodgers, and it’s an open question whether Puig will end up on the block at season’s end. If he does, the fact that multiple teams sought to claim him should at the very least indicate that there will be a market for his services.
There’s little question that Kershaw would make for a major addition down the stretch. Remarkably, he still paces all pitchers in fWAR for the season despite not having pitched since late June. Word is that Kershaw may only need a single rehab outing before he is ready to return from his back injury, which suggests he could take the major league hill four times before the regular season wraps up.