Prior to last night’s game, there were rumors swirling of a 3-team trade involving the Dodgers, Reds and an unknown third team (some suggested the Rays). But nothing has happened … yet.
Jay Bruce is the name mentioned most prominently. The Dodgers are clearly interested in the Reds’ slugger and seem determined to get him. I wrote about his possible acquisition a month ago, and back then the biggest question was where he’d play (left or right field) and would he take away playing time from Yasiel Puig. Now, it’d be him replacing Puig.
Bruce is a right fielder. Puig is a right fielder. One is hitting well, one is not. One is defending well, one is not. If you could combine the two, you’d have the perfect right fielder. Unfortunately, modern science has come only so far.
The fact the Dodgers are open to trading Puig isn’t surprising, and with his latest hamstring injury, it makes a little more sense. He did pinch-hit on Friday night, so that’s progress I suppose. But no matter how poorly Bruce grades out in defensive metrics, his offensive impact is surely higher than Puig’s.
It’s too bad because we all know Puig has the talent — he showed it in his first two seasons. But for whatever reason, his offense has regressed. Injuries play a big part of it, but it isn’t just that.
If Puig is traded now, it’s definitely at the nadir of his trade value. But if he’s a piece in a package or part of a 3-way deal, that might be the best way to maximize his trade value, which I wrote about 10 days ago.
“The reality is likely that he has more valuable to the Dodgers than any other team right now. The outfield, despite having many options, is thin in terms of production. Howie Kendrick, primarily a second baseman heading into this season, has picked it up of late and the Dodgers got a nice boost from Trayce Thompson until he hurt himself, but outside of Joc Pederson, there hasn’t been a consistent performer in the lot. And that’s saying something, seeing as Pederson is doing most of his work as a platoon player.”
That’s still true, but the more these Bruce rumors persist, the worse it is for Puig’s tenure as a Dodger. That’s fine; they’re allowed to trade him. However, it’d still be a bit of a gut punch if they did eventually part ways.
If these are truly Puig’s last days as a Dodger, it’s been fun. He’s definitely lived up to his contract and is a much better clubhouse guy (by all accounts) this season. Puig’s not the game-changing offensive force he was when he debuted, but he’s still a quality MLB outfielder. Perhaps a change of scenery would do him some good.
We’re 50 hours from the trade deadline. We’ll see what happens.