Yasiel Puig's agent confirmed to media Monday night that the erratic outfielder did not accompany the Dodgers to Denver and will likely be cut from the roster tomorrow and be assigned to Oklahoma City. That's the minor leagues.
"The club informed me, and the player understood clearly that they were making every effort to trade him and that if they were unable to come to terms with another club on a trade -- and successful in acquiring another outfielder -- that he likely would be demoted," agent Adam Katz said. "My understanding is that transaction will happen tomorrow."
What a crash. Puig made an immediate splash when he came up from the minors in 2013 and had a great sophomore year despite ticking off his teammates with his ego and lack of focus. His performance has declined ever since, and even though Puig is only 25, he keeps suffering muscle strains that hobble him.
You get the sense that Dylan Hernandez, who was the Dodgers beat guy for the LA Times until this season, has been saving up some of the observations he let loose with in a column tonight. "The story of Yasiel Puig always looked as if it were destined for a tragic ending," Hernandez writes. Sample:
Puig certainly deserves blame for what happened, the 25-year-old declining as a player while continuing to disrespect the people around him.
But the Dodgers also are responsible for Puig’s descent into mediocrity....
The Dodgers made the mistake of crowning Puig their king when he came out of nowhere to salvage their 2013 season. It didn’t take long for Puig to figure out that he could more or less do as he pleased so long as he continued to seduce ownership with his ability to move merchandise and tease the baseball operations department by making breathtaking plays on occasion.
Puig was always a step ahead of management, which didn’t know what to make of him....He was intelligent and manipulative enough to say what his supposed superiors wanted to hear — remember when he told me he wanted to be the Kobe Bryant or LeBron James of baseball? — only for his concentration to lapse once he was certain they were appeased.
The Dodgers needed someone who could not just field and throw, as Puig can with the best of them, but also show some discipline at bat. His hitting skills have withered, so the Dodgers went out and traded today for Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick. He's a left-handed hitter, unlike Puig, and a comparable fielder, and may not be much of an upgrade at bat, though he's having a better than usual year (.816 OPS and 8 home runs.) Reddick is only here through this season. The Dodgers also got injured starter Rich Hill from Oakland, and picked up a couple of other spare parts pitchers today: Jesse Chavez and Josh Fields. They only major leaguer the Dodgers surrendered was part--time starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger; the rest are prospects.
Kind of related to Puig being cut: his former teammate and running buddy with the Dodgers, Juan Uribe, was cut today too by the Cleveland Indians.