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Free Yasiel Puig? Nope, Not Happening

Yasiel Puig has fallen out of favor with the Dodgers. I am in favor of Yasiel Puig on the Mariners. (I don't think it will happen.)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The non-waiver trade deadline may have passed, but like that's going to stop Ken Rosenthal from breaking news.

In case you didn't read the article above: Earlier today, the Dodgers made a major move when they dealt a trio of prospects to the Athletics in exchange for starting pitcher Rich Hill and right fielder Josh Reddick. Reddick plays Puig's position. Puig was...unhappy, to say the least. When told by the team he was being either traded or demoted, he "stormed off" and was then not on the Dodgers' flight to Colorado.

EDIT: Since this article was published, Ken Rosenthal and others have clarified that Puig was actually asked not to report to Dodger Stadium today because he was either being traded or demoted. Either way, the point still stands that the Dodgers don't see Puig as a piece of their major league roster right now, and perhaps/probably not going forward.

Let me be clear. I love the idea of trading for Yasiel Puig. A 25-year-old outfielder who posted OPS+ of 159 and 145 in his first two seasons in the league, signed for two more seasons after this one for a combined $17.4 million? Yes, please. I mean, for crying out loud, Wade freakin' Miley is going to make more money next season than Puig will!

Now, Puig wouldn't be available were it not for some other questions surrounding him. For starters, he has had quite a rough two-year stretch on the field, with an OPS+ of 101 in the 160 games he's played last year and this year. His walk rate has plummeted from a once-robust 10.5% to a pretty-dang-bad 5.9% this season.

And, most notably, he's been a clubhouse distraction for much of his time in Los Angeles. This article from Jeff Passan discusses "The Best Team Money Can Buy," a book by Molly Knight about the clubhouse dynamics in L.A., is damning of Puig. Needless to say, he hasn't exactly done much to bridge the gap in the locker room.

But Puig is on the outs in L.A., so the transaction cost likely wouldn't be exceedingly high. He doesn't make much money, in the crazy economy that is Major League Baseball. And, if traded to Seattle, I think the presence of veterans like Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez would help him calm down and fit in, as would fellow Cuban countrymen Leonys Martin and Guillermo Heredia (can you say all-Cuban outfield?).

All this to say that the Mariners should get Puig if he's there.

But he won't be.


Someone as recently good as Puig, as comparatively cheap as Puig, and as good of a defender as Puig will draw opportunities from teams all across baseball. Since the trade deadline was earlier today, it would take the Mariners claiming him off trade waivers from the Dodgers (should they actually put him on trade waivers) and agreeing on compensation with Andrew Friedman & Co.

But even getting there is unlikely, as Puig would first be offered to the entire National League, and then to every team in the A.L. with a worse record than the Mariners. Twenty-one teams would have the opportunity to claim Puig and negotiate with the Dodgers to get him, and any of them claiming him would mean the Mariners could not get him until November. I'd be shocked if nobody before the M's claims him, and the idea of getting Puig for free doesn't seem likely at all, even given the turmoil he's caused in the Dodger clubhouse.

Is it possible to get Puig? Sure, but I'd be shocked if it happens before the offseason, and I'd be shocked if the M's didn't have to give up a decent prospect or two.

But a boy can dream, right?