As they continue to pursue outfield pop, the Marlins held a meeting recently with free agent Yasiel Puig, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). That adds another intriguing possibility to the club’s widespread search.
The Marlins have been connected to quite a few corner outfielders to this point of the winter, both via trade and free agency. During the Winter Meetings, the club also chatted with the representatives of Avisail Garcia and Corey Dickerson — two of the top alternative corner outfielders remaining in free agency. Kole Calhoun and others are also reportedly under consideration.
Puig seems to be a fascinating target for the Miami organization. The Cuban star would certainly inject some charisma into the roster and suit the club’s desire to improve the appeal of its product for the local fanbase. As we noted in our ranking of the top 50 free agents, however, there has seemed to be one major roadblock: the highly strained relationship of Puig and Don Mattingly, the former Dodgers skipper who now helms the Fish. Evidently, there’s at least a willingness to explore a surprising reunion.
Whether the sit-down leaves Puig as a target or took him out of contention isn’t really known. Apart from his propensity for hijinks — sometimes endearing, other times not — Puig is a bit of a high-risk/high-reward player from a pure baseball perspective. He turned in approximately average overall results with the bat in 2019 and 2016, but was about twenty percent over the league mean in the two intervening seasons. Puig has a rifle in right field and has at times graded as an elite defender, but was average in the eyes of defensive metrics in 2019.