Oct 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig in the dugout during game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The speculation all started innocently enough. A simple late-night tweet on Wednesday turned into a lot of wishful thinking for a fan base in the East Bay. The name: Yasiel Puig. The destination? Oakland.
Tim Kawakami, of Mercury News simply said, “Late-night thought: Yasiel Puig might be somebody Billy Beane would secretly target for a surprise deal.” The tweet has since been deleted, but it can be seen in this article on DodgersNation.com.
The speculation is that, with four high-quality outfielders, and super-prospect Joc Pederson on the way to the big leagues, one of the Dodger outfielders could be on the move. Yasiel Puig, in turn, could bring the most back in return.
Before we delve into this topic, let’s be clear: there are no reports that a trade is imminent, or that Puig is even of interest to the A’s. Yet, it is a very intriguing idea.
In 2014 Puig put up some respectable numbers, batting .296, driving in 69, launching 16 home runs, and crossing the plate 92 times. Add in his OBP of .382, and he sounds like the kind of player Billy Beane would typically go after.
His contract is not as large as one might expect, either. The 23-year old still has five years left on a 7-year/$42M deal, which is perfectly reasonable, even for the A’s. He is due $6.214M in 2015, with that figure rising by one million every year through 2018. In 2019, Puig would be arbitration eligible, and in 2020, a free agent.
On the field, Yasiel Puig looks like a perfect fit.
Off the field, and in the clubhouse is the real question with the “Wild Horse” however. We’ve all seen the highlights of Puig being argumentative, running when he wants, where he wants, and he has had a little trouble with the law as well (reckless driving).
The A’s clubhouse seems mild-mannered, and the addition of Yasiel Puig could damage what is left of the team’s chemistry.
There is also the question of what it would cost to get Puig. By my guess, it would be too much. Many are saying the Dodgers would trade for bullpen help, but righty Luke Gregerson just became a free agent, so expect them to make a strong push there. That leaves us with the usual suspects: starting pitching (which, as we’ve seen, the A’s need to keep a stockpile of) and young talent (which has largely already been traded away).
Any trade would likely include either Jeff Samardzija or Scott Kazmir, both of whom are free agents after 2015. The Dodgers would likely ask about Sonny Gray, but I have a hard time believing he would be dealt at this stage of his career.
That’s just the start of a potential trade, however. With either Samardzija or Kazmir lined up, there are a few other options for the Dodgers to consider. Do they want Nate Freiman or someone of that caliber, or do they want a prospect? Heck, they’ll probably want all three tiers.
If the trade was something like Scott Kazmir, Nate Freiman and Renato Nunez, I could get behind it. With Drew Pomeranz proving he can pitch in the rotation last season, I’d be ok with giving him a chance to start in 2015. Nate Freiman is a nice player, and I really enjoy him, but the A’s have tons of options at first, with John Jaso possibly joining the platoon.
Renato Nunez is a prospect with a ton of upside, but he also plays third base. In this summer’s draft, the A’s selected Matt Chapman with their first round selection, and he has been making some big strides in his short time in the minors. Trading Nunez would be much like trading Addison Russell, only Nunez isn’t as coveted. Oakland also has Josh Donaldson to bring the rain until Chapman is ready.
The big question is this: Do YOU want Yasiel Puig on the Oakland A’s?