There is no disputing that free agent Yasiel Puig could add an offensive element to the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, but is he worth the headache and accompanying dog and pony show that invariably always seems to follow the outfielder?
The open market for free-agent outfielders has been slow developing which at the end of the day could bode well for a team like the Blue Jays who is still attempting to shore up their outfield. The likes of Yasiel Puig, Kevin Pillar, Nicholas Castellanos, and Brock Holt all remain unsigned and available as we near the start of spring training.
Puig had been linked to the Marlins and White Sox earlier in the offseason, however, those rumours have died down as of late. The million-dollar question for me pertaining to Puig is would the brain trust want him anywhere near our crop of talented, impressionable young stars. It would not appear that his previous employers from last season are chomping at the bit to bring the outfielder back into the fold.
The 29-year old split last season between Cincinnati and Cleveland performing relatively well over 149 games. Puig hit a combined .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 19 stolen bases, and a 1.4 WAR.
Puig would not rectify the Blue Jays centrefield void as he is predominately a right-fielder, if he were to sign north of the border, Randal Grichuk would slide over the centre with Puig taking the reins in right field.
Regardless of the accompanied sideshow attraction, Puig has always seemed to be liked by his teammates and often could be seen bantering and joking in the dugout. The Blue Jays prized offseason acquisition Hyun-Jin Ryu is a former teammate of Puig and appeared to have a playful relationship with the outfielder.
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There is no questioning that when push comes to shove with the opposition, the “Wild Horse” will be front and centre in any melee that unfolds. Last season, Puig was involved in a bench-clearing brawl and eventual dust-up while he was with the Reds. The outfielder was traded to the Indians as the brawl was literally unfolding and Puig was advised of the trade following his ejection.
The outfielder earned $9.7 million last season and will more than likely cost somewhere in the $8 million range at this stage of the offseason. He may be worth the risk on an incentive-laden deal with a lower annual average.
It appears that Castellanos may land with the Reds, as word came out yesterday that Cincinnati was the favourite to sign the outfielder. All has been quiet on the Pillar front as of late but the Blue Jays do have a history with “Superman”. The Blue Jays haven’t been publicly been linked to any of the trio of outfielders this offseason.
Would you be ok with the Blue Jays bringing Puig on for the 2020 campaign?