Royals: Making the correct free agent gambles can make all the difference

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Yasiel Puig
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Yasiel Puig may be the most talented outfielder in free agency this season. His up and down 2019 season may make him available on a short-term discount for 2020.

Yasiel Puig hit for an OPS+ of 159 over 104 games as a 22-year-old rookie. He hit well over .300 and had an On Base Percentage of nearly .400. His throws from the outfield were legendary. He finished 15th in MVP voting that season.

That is not the Yasiel Puig who is available in free agency for 2020. After his relationship with the Dodgers soured in Los Angeles, he was traded to Cincinnati who then traded him to Cleveland. He was a league-average hitter in 2019.

But, there are plenty of reasons to believe you may be buying low on Puig. Plenty of reasons to believe that his 2019 numbers may very well be his floor moving forward. Over his last 49 games, after being traded to Cleveland, he hit .297. His On Base Percentage was .377.

His 2019 campaign was a disappointment, but he still hit 24 home runs. He was still good for the same WAR as Alex Gordon, at 1.4. And he still plays decent defense on the corners.

My guess is that Yasiel Puig would still like one more large contract in his career. For that to happen he will most likely need to sign a one year deal for 2020 and spend his age 29 season showing he is still in his prime as a hitter. That could work well as a symbiotic relationship between the Royals and Puig.

And, if we are not going to try to win 90 games, let us at least have fun losing 90 games. Puig is fun to watch play baseball.

Next. Plenty of reasons to be thankful. dark

All of the guys on this list come with some concerns. That is why they will be available at reasonable rates. But these are the kinds of free agents Dayton Moore needs to hit on. I would much rather see us spend $9-$10 million dollars on one of these players than another combination of Owings and Hamilton and Duda.