Detroit Tigers: Team is wise to steer clear of Yasiel Puig

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

In their search for outfield help, the Detroit Tigers have expressed that they are not interested in free agent Yasiel Puig. This would be a wise decision.

The Detroit Tigers have already made some upgrades to their offense in C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and Austin Romine, but they might not be done yet. On Thursday, general manager Al Avila expressed that the team is interested in adding to their outfield. There are still lots of options available if the Tigers want to add more depth before spring training.

There was one name that came up specifically: Yasiel Puig. On that note, Avila said that the team is not interested in the 29-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder. Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Puig would sign with the Tigers on a one-year, $8 million deal, so this isn’t the first time that the two sides have been linked.

In some ways, such a deal would make sense, because the Tigers are looking to add to what was an anemic offense in 2019. Meanwhile, coming to a rebuilding club in Detroit on a one-year deal could be a good way for Puig to establish some more value and try again as a free agent next year. However, the Tigers apparently are not interested, and they are wise to avoid signing Puig.

For one thing, it’s hard to say what any team will get from Puig. After posting a 9.8 WAR between 2013 and 2014, when he first broke into the majors, Puig hasn’t put up that kind of production since. He had spent his whole career with the Dodgers before being traded to the Reds prior to 2019. He hit 22 home runs in 100 games with the Reds before they traded him to the Indians, and in Cleveland he suffered from a sudden power outage, hitting just two home runs in 45 games (though the AVG and OBP were up).

Puig has been up and down his whole career in terms of production on the field, but perhaps even more troubling are his antics both on and off the field. He’s been in trouble with the law several times, while it seems like he’s frequently involved in controversy with his teammates and his opponents.

One of the latest examples happened on the same day he was traded to the Indians: While still with the Reds, he was involved in a scuffle on the field and was suspended for three games. Earlier in the season, he was also involved in an altercation on the field with Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop.

While Yasiel Puig could be a useful bat and a potential midseason trade candidate for a team like the Tigers, he would not be the wisest use of money from the Tigers’ front office. For a rebuilding team, you want veterans who would be a good influence, and Puig doesn’t fit that bill. The team is wise for staying away.

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