[Update] Yasiel Puig told he would be demoted or traded, follows instructions

Yasiel Puig reportedly is not on the team flight to Colorado for the series with the Rockies and is supposedly AWOL after being informed that he would either be traded or be sent down to the minors.

Puig, 25, stormed off after arriving at Dodger Stadium and being informed that he would either be traded or sent to the minors, according to major-league sources.

He was not traded before the non-waiver deadline at 4 p.m. ET, but the team’s immediate plan for him is unclear.

Club officials declined comment.

Ken Rosenthal had the story first, and him not being on the plane was later confirmed by Molly Knight.

https://twitter.com/molly_knight/status/760246840499445761

I’m not quite sure what to make of this yet.

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From a baseball perspective, keeping Scott Van Slyke and Andrew Toles on the roster over Yasiel Puig, who is hitting .308/.390/.440/.830 since coming off the DL and is a plus defender, is just an odd decision. That’s especially true since Howie Kendrick is currently playing out of position as the regular left fielder, and it would’ve made a ton more sense to move him to second base for Chase Utley (who has struggled the last two months) and actually play the outfielders they have in the outfield.

I can maybe understand this move if it’s temporary and the goal is to get him 100% healthy and to fix whatever swing mechanics flaws Turner Ward was talking about that prevents him from hitting fastballs.

Ward was asked to think of a hitter in Yasiel Puig’s position who overcame a fatal flaw at the plate. Ward didn’t want to name names, for fear of taking any credit for himself. He also didn’t want to embarrass any hitters by not naming them.

OK then. No names. Have you seen a hitter successfully do what Puig is trying to do?

“Oh yes,” he said. “Over and over. Over and over.”

Puig’s curious flaw this season is that he cannot hit a fastball. He’s the worst fastball hitter on the Dodgers, excluding pitchers, according to the website FanGraphs.com. Imagine the strike zone broken down into a 6-by-6 grid. Puig’s batting average on fastballs in the strike zone is below .200 on 35 of the 36 squares in the grid.

But if this is an actual demotion meant to declare SVS and Toles and Chris Taylor are more useful players on the roster, and it’s a decision that signals the end of Puig as a Dodger, then it’s hard to look at this as anything but foolish.

From a personal standpoint, it’s important to ask what exactly happened. What we know is Puig isn’t on the plane to Colorado, but that doesn’t matter much if he wasn’t supposed to be on it anyway. Was he just demoted and was pissed about it, but will report? Has he gone AWOL on the team like Rosenthal’s report suggests? Is he refusing to report to the minors? It’s an important distinction to make, cause while it’s not the best to storm out over being demoted, it’s another thing entirely to refuse to accept an assignment, skip out on a team flight, or cut off communication.

We’ll see.

Either way, this is drama the Dodgers definitely didn’t need, and as of now it seems to fall on both Puig (have to react better than that) and the handling of the situation by the front office (just bizarre).

Update

Original Title: Yasiel Puig has reportedly gone AWOL on the Dodgers

Tim Brown was the first to report that Puig was not actually supposed to be at the stadium or on the plane, so he wasn’t.

That makes it difficult for Puig to throw a temper tantrum at the stadium, obviously.

As a result, Rosenthal later retracted his story about Puig storming out, and updated it with new information.

Puig, 25, was told by the Dodgers not to accompany the club because he was going to be either traded or sent to the minors.

Puig’s agent, Adam Katz, and Dodgers officials said that my initial report — that Puig stormed off after arriving at Dodger Stadium and being given the news — was inaccurate.

“I’m told he never went to the park,” Katz said. “The club informed me and the player understood clearly that they were making every to trade him and that if they were unable to come to terms with another club on a trade — and successful in acquiring another outfielder — that he likely would be demoted. My understanding is that transaction will happen tomorrow.”

To his credit, Rosenthal later issued an apology.

Definitely something I would expect the best in the business would do. But still, it sucks because nobody is gonna see the retraction.

Anyway, this obviously makes Puig look a lot better since he basically just did as he was told. I guess the lingering question is why the Dodgers would make the decision to demote him to begin with?

Well, at least this happened.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times