The Wasserman agency announced Wednesday that it has “terminated” its relationship with Yasiel Puig. The news, obviously, comes as a surprise given that Puig is a fairly high-profile client that stands to receive a raise on his $7.5MM salary next winter, via arbitration, before reaching free agency as a 28-year-old upon conclusion of the 2019 season. J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets that, at present, it does not seem that Puig has an agent representing him.
It’s not clear what exactly prompted the decision to cut ties with Puig, though SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that the issue related to Puig’s behavior. He further adds that it’s unlikely the Dodgers will take any sort of action. Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times tweets a similar sentiment.
Puig, 27, turned in a strong bounceback effort in 2017 after a lackluster 2016 season. In 570 plate appearances for the NL Champion Dodgers, Puig slashed .263/.346/.487 with a career-high 28 homers and 15 stolen bases. Defensive Runs Saved (+18) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+12.1) pegged him as one of the game’s best defenders in right field as well.
For all the promise he shows on the field, Puig’s off-field behavior has been a constant topic throughout his big league career. Since coming to the Majors in 2013, there have been stories about his clubhouse clashes with teammates, a bar fight in Miami back in 2015, and Snapchat videos of Puig partying with Triple-A teammates just days after being optioned to the minors in 2016 (videos that Puig himself posted) — among other issues.
Of course, it should be noted that Puig drew praise throughout his strong rebound campaign in 2017 not only for his play on the field but for his improved maturity off the field and in the clubhouse. Veterans Chase Utley and Kenley Jansen were among the teammates to join manager Dave Roberts in publicly praising Puig’s improved attitude and clubhouse demeanor (via Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register).
As it stands, Puig figures to once again be the team’s primary right fielder in 2018. Trade talk surrounding Puig died down in 2017 after his rebound season, though the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier did report earlier this offseason that the Red Sox declined a proposal that would’ve sent Puig to Boston in exchange for Jackie Bradley.