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Monday, December 10, 2018

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is a logical trade candidate for Dodgers

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig seems like a logical trade candidate for the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason.

The Dodgers are aiming to stay below the luxury tax in 2019 and beyond, according to a report based on financial documents intended for investors that the Los Angeles Times published about last week. The same document said the Dodgers were aiming to have their payroll at $185 million for 2019.

The Dodgers’ 2019 payroll is projected as $180.5 million by Baseball-Reference.com. That figure is now bumped up to over $198 million after Hyun-Jin Ryu accepted his $17.9 million qualifying offer. The move leaves the Dodgers with very little payroll flexibility to add players if the team is intending to stick to the reported budget. One way to create some space would be by trading away players set to make good chunks of money this season. And that’s where Puig comes in.

Puig is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn around $11 million in his final year of arbitration. When you combine the Dodgers’ surplus of outfielders with their need to add other players, such as bullpen help and possibly a catcher to replace Yasmani Grandal, a trade of Puig would make sense.

The Dodgers have Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor who can all play the outfield, in addition to Puig. Pederson, Hernandez and Taylor are all arbitration players who are projected to make around $10 million combined next year, while Bellinger is not even arbitration eligible yet and will be making even less. Kemp’s salary is $21.75 million, so he wouldn’t be attractive as a trade piece. But Puig at $11 million would be.

The Dodgers seem to have already shown a willingness to part with Puig after offering him for Bryce Harper twice last season. Don’t be surprised if they decide to trade him this offseason, despite his status as a fan favorite.

Report: Dodgers tried to trade Yasiel Puig for Bryce Harper

Yasiel Puig

The Los Angeles Dodgers are usually in contention when it comes to signing the top free agents on the market, and that may be the case with Bryce Harper this winter. While it is widely assumed that they will not bring back Manny Machado, there could be reason to believe the Dodgers will be suitors for Harper.

According to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers tried to acquire Harper twice during the 2018 season. The first time was before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the second was when they claimed him before the waiver deadline but the Washington Nationals pulled Harper back, as expected.

The Dodgers have a crowded outfield that includes Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor. That would make them seem like an unlikely landing spot for Harper, but Castillo reports that they offered Puig as part of a trade for Harper. The Dodgers and Nationals ultimately could not reach a deal.

Puig hasn’t emerged into the superstar the Dodgers hoped he would be, and he’s under team control for one more year before he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. If LA does decide to make a run at Harper, they would likely still look to move Puig this offseason.

Given the astronomical amount of money Harper is expected to earn this winter, there are probably only a handful of teams with a realistic shot at signing him. The Dodgers have that kind of payroll, but paying huge bucks to one player wouldn’t seem to fit the current front office’s typical operating style.

Watch: Yasiel Puig crotch chops like a mad man after monster home run

Yasiel Puig bat flip

Yasiel Puig delivered arguably the biggest blow of Game 7 with a monster 3-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers, and he knew exactly how to celebrate.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder crotch-chopped like a mad man as he went around the bases following his big homer off Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress. He also did a bat flip as soon as he smashed the pitch to left-center field:

Oh, and you can’t forget the throat slash he did in the dugout.

We all knew that Puig loved to celebrate, and this was a moment to be elated over. He put the Dodgers up 5-1 in the sixth inning of Game 7 with a trip to the World Series on the line.

What will MLB have to say about the generous display? Well, they can’t say that they didn’t encourage it.

Watch: Yasiel Puig breaks bat over knee after huge strikeout

Yasiel Puig is a very intense and strong individual, and those traits came out after he came up short in a big spot during the seventh inning of Saturday’s NLCS Game 2.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Puig went reaching and struck out on a Jeremy Jeffress slider out of the zone for out number one. The outfielder’s inability to come up with even a sacrifice of some sort deeply frustrated him — so much so that he snapped his bat over his knee like it was little more than a twig.

Puig isn’t the first batter to be reduced to bat-snapping by the Milwaukee bullpen. They’ve been an extremely effective unit, and it continued on Saturday, with the Dodgers only getting one run out of this situation and failing to even tie the game.

Yasiel Puig predicts Dodgers will sweep Brewers in NLCS

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is calling his shot ahead of the National League Championship Series.

After his Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to their third straight NLCS with a 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday, the star outfielder delivered a bold prediction about the team’s upcoming series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Puig was being interviewed by MLB Network amid a celebration in the locker room when he stated that the Dodgers would not only beat the Brewers but do so in four games to boot. He then went on to declare that the Dodgers would also win the World Series. Take a look:

While there may have been an inebriation factor in play here, it’s still a pretty hot take from the former All-Star Puig. The Brewers just swept their NLDS series against the Colorado Rockies and have not lost a game since Sept. 22, adding up to a total of 11 consecutive victories.

But as for the reason why Puig feels so confident in his team’s chances this postseason, we probably have a good idea.

Watch: Yasiel Puig hugs Braves infielder after being thrown out

Yasiel Puig Charlie Culberson

It’s playoff baseball and hugs are in the air.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was thrown out trying to steal in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. He was such dead meat at second base that he decided to hug Charlie Culberson while being tagged out.

Puig and Culberson were teammates on the Dodgers the past two seasons, so it’s not as weird as you might think. Plus, maybe he was taking a page from Javy Baez.

Yasiel Puig has funny reason for expecting Dodgers’ postseason success

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is expecting his Los Angeles Dodgers to have success in the playoffs, and he has a pretty funny reason why.

Puig said on Wednesday that the reason he likes the Dodgers’ postseason chances is because they have a lot of handsome guys.

Leave it to Puig to share such a unique perspective. Now if there’s anything that should determine the World Series champion, it’s not play on the field, but rather good looks. Not only that, but there should probably be bonus points for kissing your coach.

The Dodgers open their NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound. They’re looking to repeat last year’s success by reaching the World Series, only this time they want to win it all after losing in Game 7 to Houston in 2017.