Giants: Pros and cons of signing former rival Yasiel Puig
By Jeff Young
Yasiel Puig comes with his fair share of baggage as well. He is a very polarizing personality.
Despite solid production at the plate and with the glove, some of it is negated by his on-field antics, whether it be failing to tag up on a fly ball, getting picked off, running through a stop sign on the bases, or arriving late to the game.
These issues bleed into team chemistry as he has been known as a clubhouse cancer in the past. In fact, Puig has a long history of disrupting the clubhouse. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote about an incident between Puig and then-teammate Zack Greinke:
"In 2014, during the Dodgers’ annual trip to Chicago, the team bus stopped downtown to allow rookies undergoing hazing to walk into a pizza place…When the bus was ready to leave, Puig was outside, looking for his luggage inside of the bay underneath the bus. After Puig ignored multiple requests to close the luggage bay, Greinke hopped off the bus, grabbed the suitcase in front of Puig and chucked it onto Michigan Avenue. Puig stepped toward Greinke and was restrained by reliever J.P. Howell"
Puig’s personality may have eventually led to Zack Greinke leaving the Dodgers via free agency.
In addition to this, the 29-year-old was rumored to have gotten into a heated argument with teammate Justin Turner as well.
According to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, an anonymous former Dodger did not mince words when describing Puig:
"“He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game.”"
Now, anonymous sources are not always reliable, but it adds to the picture that has been painted of Puig’s character.
The Giants front office is more analytically driven than ever before. The right fielder produces on the field, but the front office needs to weigh whether Puig’s impact on clubhouse chemistry compromises his on-field production. There is not necessarily a metric for this.
With all that being said, many of these stories are several years old, and there have been fewer incidents surrounding Puig in recent seasons. Does this show maturity and growth? It is possible.
On a different, but still related note, Puig is not very well-liked by much of the Giants fan base. He has often been the center of controversy in Giants-Dodgers games:
This is just one instance. Perhaps, the departure of Madison Bumgarner opens the door ever-so-slightly for Puig to don a Giants uniform. Over the years, Puig and Bumgarner frequently expressed their displeasure for one another.
Despite how the fan base views Puig, it seems apparent that Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office will not crowd source their decisions based on popular opinion. The hiring of Gabe Kapler as the manager, and parting ways with Kevin Pillar are just two recent examples of this.
Puig checks off a number of boxes for the Giants. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if the Giants are willing to commit to the outfielder. On the field, he offers plenty of overall value.
Despite this, he makes quite a few mistakes and could potentially hurt clubhouse chemistry while further alienating the fan base. These factors cannot be easily quantified, but they would have to be considered.
Adding Puig would improve the roster in 2020 without significantly limiting the team’s long-term strategy. However, it would come at an emotional cost that would be difficult for many Giants fans to swallow.