Yasiel Puig, who started his MLB career under the bright lights of Dodger Stadium, has yet to be signed over the offseason. Puig was looking to follow up his original seven-year, US$42 million deal with another big contract, but his value has sunk thanks to average offensive production in his walk year. He’s now predicted to sign for a one year, US$8 million deal by MLB Trade Rumors. MLB Trade Rumors also notes the teams who were originally interested in Puig’s services, the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox, have moved on to other options.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays have been lacking in power production from the outfield and have been trying to plug in various prospects around Randal Grichuk to see if any of them take. None have really made a good case for themselves to have a regular job other than Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who has shown improvement since transitioning to left field from the middle of the diamond.
The Jays especially have need for a regular center fielder after dealing Kevin Pillar to the San Francisco Giants last year. Puig is not a center fielder, but acquiring Puig would allow Grichuk to move to center full-time. Grichuk has logged 1988.1 innings in center over 250 games with Toronto and St. Louis.
As I mentioned previously, Puig had an average year last year, hitting .267/.327/.458, for an OPS+ of 100 and wRC+ of 101, but launched 24 bombs and posted a good isolated power figure of .191. Puig is heading into his age-29 season and shouldn’t be facing a major drop-off in his power numbers just yet. All projections available on FanGraphs show him hitting between 20-24 dingers in 2020. This slugging potential would provide some additional lineup protection to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
Adding Puig would reunite him with former Dodgers teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu, who just joined the Jays, and bring some more star power north of the border. Toronto might be just the type of lower-pressure environment Puig needs to gain some consistency and build a bridge to his next big contract. Toronto has been very good to Ken Giles, who was cast off by the Houston Astros in 2018, and it could be very good to Yasiel Puig.
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