Lest we forget, there are a number of established big-leaguers who went unsigned this winter and are still available to MLB teams. And while there aren’t any Dallas Keuchels or Craig Kimbrels out there, teams could still find some value in free agency. Undoubtedly, the biggest name still on the market is 29-year-old outfielder Yasiel Puig. The former Dodger, who is no longer the dynamite rookie who burst onto the scene in 2013, had some trouble securing a deal during the winter, and the delayed season means that he’ll have to spend more time without a team.
It was reported that Puig turned down a $10MM contract offer from a National League team during the offseason, and the consensus is that it was the Marlins who made that offer. But Puig said in an interview with Jorge Ebro of el Nuevo Herald that there are teams besides the Marlins that have offered him a deal since then. He says that the Marlins were among the first to make an offer, adding that his price tag was higher for Miami, where his native Cuban fanbase might unreasonably expect him to go 5-for-5 every night.
Of course, with rosters currently frozen and transactions on hold, Puig won’t be able to sign until MLB has set a date for Opening Day and baseball operations are able to operate as normal. With that said, there may be enough interest that when that time comes, Puig’s extended free agency will come to an end.
We don’t know how many teams have made offers, or the identities of those teams. Many teams who entered the offseason with outfield needs have already addressed those positions, so there are relatively few good fits remaining for Puig. Still, the Giants have had their name floated as a team that could be in the market for Puig’s services and were rumored to be considering him before the stoppage. Speculatively, a rebuilding team like the Tigers might be in the mix, but there hasn’t been anything concrete to suggest that.
Puig said that he doesn’t think there will be an MLB season in 2020, but if there is, he will be on the field for a team. And if not, he’s confident he’ll be back in 2021. There’s no doubt that he brings a unique spice to the game, so we hope that he finds a way onto an MLB roster by the time baseball is back.