Is a veteran power hitting outfielder a good candidate to join the KC Royals?
For anyone wondering why Yasiel Puig is still considered a Cleveland free agent, the answer is simple. He elected free agency after finishing the 2019 season with the Indians and, after a winter’s long search for employment, headed for Atlanta until a positive COVID-19 test scuttled a deal with the Braves. Puig didn’t play at all in 2020.
But that doesn’t explain why he remains jobless. Puig is a gifted player blessed with power—he hit 75 home runs across 2017-19, including 27 with the Dodgers in ’17, and hasn’t dipped below double-digits in homers in any of his seven major league seasons. His 79 stolen bases prove he has some speed; his .277 career average and .348 OBP are respectable and he plays serviceable outfield defense.
What probably keeps clubs from jumping on the Puig bandwagon is his past. His six-year Dodger career included moments of bad judgment and he too often drew attention to himself for the wrong reasons. By his own admission, he could have worked harder in Los Angeles. The Dodgers didn’t wait for his contract to run out and traded him to Cincinnati after the 2018 season.
Without question, Puig could add punch to Kansas City’s lineup. No one doubts he’d hit his share of home runs, even in spacious Kauffman Stadium. But the Royals are looking for lefthanded power, not righthanded like Puig’s, and if they find a big lefty bat it will likely be in the form of a leftfielder. Puig could play left, but has only done so seven times in 861 games.
Puig will find work for 2021, but it probably won’t with the Royals.