The Kansas City Royals need outfielders. Should they take the time to inquire about a trade for Yasiel Puig?
The Kansas City Royals outfield is likely to undergo quite a few changes this offseason. Right field has been a revolving door, with five different players listed as the Royals primary right fielder in the past six years. Left field, over the past few years, has been a constant with Alex Gordon, yet with Gordon being one of the top free agents, he could be out of the Royals price range.
Indeed, the Royals outfield could look vastly different next season. However, given their payroll constraints, and the numerous other openings throughout their roster, the Royals and Dayton Moore may need to be creative in finding players to fill the roster. In all likelihood, since the Royals likely will not be able to fill all of these openings either internally or through free agency, a trade or two may need to be made.
One such player that may be on the block is Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers. Puig is certainly a talented player with solid power, as evidenced by 46 career home runs in 331 games. Although his batting line has decreased each season, Puig does have a career .294/.371/.487 batting line. His 2015 season, where Puig had a disappointing .255/.322/.436 batting line and eleven home runs in 311 plate appearances, could be explained by his ongoing hamstring issues.
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However, even with all of the talent and potential that Puig has, the mercurial outfielder may find himself on the trading block. The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders, and Puig seemingly has not endeared himself with his teammates. His playing style seemed to clash with the more reserved Don Mattingly, and his occasional lapses in the field seemed to infuriate the former manager. Former coach Andy Van Slyke also hinted at issues with Puig in the clubhouse when he stated that the Dodgers ‘highest paid player’ wanted him off the team.
Puig also found himself at the center of controversy this past week. It had been reported that there was a domestic incident between Puig and his sister at a bar, and a subsequent scuffle between the outfielder and a bouncer. Even though this has been downgraded to an argument between the two, this incident may provide further impetus for the Dodgers to send Puig elsewhere.
If there is one place where Puig may not only be able to be himself, but to also thrive, it may be with the Kansas City Royals. Ned Yost has developed quite the reputation for bringing out the best in his players, providing a comfortable clubhouse atmosphere where they can be themselves. Puig’s exuberance and style would fit well on a team that thrives on celebrating their success, where he would be able to celebrate alongside players like Yordano Ventura and Salvador Perez.
Obviously, acquiring Puig would come with some risk. A part of the reason why the Royals were able to greatly exceed expectations was due to their excellent clubhouse chemistry. Puig, who has caused a rift in the Dodgers clubhouse, would certainly be an interesting player to add to the mix. However, given the issues with the Dodgers appear to stem from his more flamboyant personality and playing style.
At this point, Puig may be a classic buy-low candidate who needs a change of scenery. As a player who is under contract through 2018 for a total of just over $24 Million, and has a year of arbitration available afterwards, Puig could be a long term solution for the Royals in right. The biggest question may be what the Dodgers would be looking for in return.
Yasiel Puig certainly comes with a great deal of risk, but he could more than reward that gamble. For the Kansas City Royals, the chance to bring in a truly talented player at what may be the nadir of his value could be worth that chance.