Free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig is in agreement with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, reports Yonhap News (h/t to Yonhap’s Jeeho Yoo). It’ll be a one-year, $1MM contract, the maximum amount allowed under KBO rules for first-year foreign players. (Francys Romero of Las Mayores reported yesterday that Puig was nearing agreement with a KBO team).
Puig, who turned 31 years old yesterday, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2019. After a league average offensive showing between the Reds and Indians that year, he lingered on the free agent market for the entire offseason. Puig looked as if he’d lined up a deal with the Braves coming out of the pandemic-driven transactions freeze last July, but his potential agreement with Atlanta was scuttled after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Puig didn’t wind up playing in 2020. During the ensuing offseason, a woman filed a civil action against him, alleging that he had sexually assaulted her in 2018. In March, John Barr of ESPN detailed the allegations, which Puig and his representatives denied. Criminal charges were never filed, and the parties settled the civil case out of court this past October.
While Puig continued to express interest in a return to Major League Baseball, he spent the 2021 season in the Mexican League. The right-handed hitter signed with El Águila de Veracruz. He hit .312/.409/.517 across 247 plate appearances and 62 games. He’ll now reportedly head to South Korea for his first career action outside of North America.
Puig has appeared in seven big league seasons, including star-level showings in each of his first two years with the Dodgers. He appeared on MVP balloting in both 2013 and 2014, earning an All-Star selection in the latter of those seasons. From 2015 onwards, Puig settled in as a solid but not elite offensive player, posting slightly above-average marks until his average 2019 showing. For his career, he’s a .277/.348/.475 hitter.