The Major League Baseball season is set to open in just a few weeks, and outfielder Yasiel Puig surprisingly remains without a job. Could a return to Southern California, where he played and sometimes thrived in Los Angeles from 2013-18, be in the offing? The Angels have at least “considered” signing Puig, though “not too seriously,” Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. The belief is that Puig turned down a one-year, $10MM contract from a National League club, Shaikin adds, but i’s unclear when the team presented Puig with that offer.
The Angels recently tried to upgrade their outfield with a different Dodger in Joc Pederson, but the trade between the two LA teams trade fell apart. It now appears they’re prepared to ride with in-house possibilities, per Shaikin, who reports they’re more inclined to spend available resources on pitching than their lineup.
As for the Angels’ current outfield setup, Brian Goodwin’s the favorite to start in right field alongside center fielder Mike Trout and left fielder Justin Upton. Goodwin, a waiver claim last March, put up respectable numbers over a full season of work during his first year with the club. He’ll continue to keep the seat warm for uber-prospect Jo Adell, who figures to make his major league debut sometime in 2020, and the Angels also have utility player David Fletcher and another talented prospect, Brandon Marsh, on hand as possibilities. Marsh, however, has been slowed by a left elbow strain.
Considering the options already on the roster, Puig and Angels don’t look like a perfect match. Elsewhere, nobody seems to be pursuing Puig with much gusto at this point, even though he could at least improve some non-contenders’ outfields and emerge as a trade chip around the July deadline. One problem for Puig is that he posted a less-than-ideal platform in 2019. Although he did rack up 24 home runs and 19 stolen bases across 611 plate appearances, Puig batted a so-so .267/.327/.458 – good for a 101 wRC+ that comes up well shy of his lifetime mark (124).