Giants: Pros and cons of signing former rival Yasiel Puig
On the field, Yasiel Puig offers decent overall value with both the bat and the glove.
As has already been mentioned, Puig bats from the right side, which adds a little more balance to an outfield contingent that includes left-handed bats in both Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson.
As the Giants have seen over the years, Puig’s calling card is his bat. Across 3,376 plate appearances, the long-time Giants nemesis has posted a .277/.348/.475 line (122 OPS+) with 132 home runs.
However, the bat has taken a step back in recent seasons. In his rookie and sophomore seasons, Puig posted a combined 151 OPS+.
By producing at that level, it seemed like Puig was going to be a thorn in the Giants side for a long time. He was still a thorn, but the size of that thorn shrunk as his career progressed.
In the past three seasons, Puig has worn a Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians uniform. The frequent flyer miles are beginning to pile up. In that same time span, he has posted a .265/.334/478 line (112 OPS+). Clearly, this is not the same level of success Puig enjoyed earlier in his career.
That decline in production could be part of the reason why the outfielder remains on the free-agent market. Nevertheless, the level of production he has realized in recent seasons is still much better than just about every Giants outfielder on the 40-man roster.
Plus, as he goes into his age-29 season, there is still hope that he could regain some of his early career success.
In addition to this, Puig has proven to be solid with the glove. He may not be able to handle center field at this stage in his career, but he is significantly above-average with the glove as a right fielder.
Throughout his career, Puig has generated 41 DRS and 2.8 UZR while displaying a solid arm in right field. Oddly, he has only appeared in seven games in left field. With that being said, he would likely be able to handle left field at Oracle Park since it has very little nuance to it.
Lastly, at this stage in the offseason, Puig is not likely to receive a lucrative contract. In November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that he would receive a one-year, $8 million dollar contract. Most of the players have exceeded the expectations from these predictions, and it is possible Puig is no different.
Still, he will likely not command much more than the $8 million average annual value that the site predicted. Perhaps, the larger miss in that prediction is that he is poised to score a multi-year deal.
Teams have less flexibility this late in the offseason as they begin to finalize their roster and payroll.