Detroit Tigers-Yasiel Puig: Depth Chart Cure or Hard Pass?

The Detroit Tigers have indicated they have no interest in Yasiel Puig. The fans want him on the roster. But does he make sense at this point?

I am rather conflicted when it comes to Yasiel Puig. The Detroit Tigers right now need outfield help with JaCoby Jones going down for the rest of the season. More than likely today, we will hear that either Daz Cameron or Derek Hill (both on the 40-man roster) could get the call-up or even Brandon Dixon, who I heard on the TV broadcast last night is having a good camp.

I was all about Yasiel Puig coming aboard until in July when the Atlanta Braves signed him only to have his contract voided due to Puig having COVID-19. There has been radio silence about Puig ever since. Does anyone know outside of his camp how much he has recovered? Keep in mind that several Tigers players tested positive for the virus and went through their own bad experiences with the virus.

Puig’s numbers are good. He has power and while his defensive numbers have been on a slight decline, he could play either corner position. He’s a veteran bat and would be an upgrade over anything the Tigers may have. These facts we already know.

But, Willi Castro has been hitting so well lately (6-for-14, .421/.429/.643 with an OPS of 1.071) that he is taking reps in the outfield.

While Christin Stewart has struggled at the plate, the Tigers will give him every opportunity to play to see what they have in Stewart. He had a nice outfield assist last night and a home run. So, he will provide enough. They still lose outfield defense with Jorge Bonifacio not providing much help.

The other Castro

Harold Castro will be coming off the DL sometime in the next week or so. He has played over 400 innings in the outfield, is on the roster, and will probably get some reps.

Toledo Solutions?

Well, they could bring up Derek Hill or Daz Cameron. Cameron was out due to COVID19 and from all reports, Derek Hill is a defensive first, offense second, player. #FreeDerekHill is a hashtag that has been trending on Twitter and it makes total sense. I would be fine with it, see what both prospects could do but with the Tigers in the playoff hunt, can you really have the luxury of throwing either rookie out there to the wolves?

They are heading to Minnesota this weekend and the Twins are getting healthy again with Michael Pineda, Bryon Buxton, and Josh Donaldson coming back from the IL. This will be a different team than the ones the Tigers faced last weekend at Comerica.

They also could bring up Brandon Dixon, put him at first base, and slide Candelario back at third. But that would take away bats from Paredes and Willi Castro. I do like what Kenon from Tigers Minor League Tracker said while chatting in text and I want to make sure he gets the credit for this.

They could bring up an arm (Dereck Rodriguez was the name we suggested) and carry the four outfielders they have in Stewart, Bonifacio, Reyes, and Demettrie. The starters are just now getting deeper in games and a fresh arm could help Detroit during this stretch.

My only concern is what the effects of the virus did to Puig. In certain cases, there has been long term damage. I am not a doctor but from my personal experiences recently, if they can take the side of caution when it comes to this, I will rather be safe than sorry. If Puig is 100% healthy and in shape to play, then Detroit should sign him, no doubt.

However, the Tigers spent money on getting free agents this past winter and passed on Puig then, despite needing outfield help. I believe they will continue to do so. If you follow wrestling, the biggest complaint about WWE owner Vince McMahon is he doesn’t listen to what the fans want, even if its the most obvious choice. All Detroit needs to do is point down to their own bench or what they have in Toledo and say hey, we got players, we don’t need Puig.