Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw and a game of chicken

Everything coming out of the Dodgers’ front office so far this winter has pointed to reducing player salaries and building around young talent. This doesn’t mean the collective wallet will be closed. I still think the Dodgers end up with Zack Greinke or David Price.

But if they don’t, their best and most attractive trade chip to get a replacement is Yasiel Puig. Dealing him would go against the alleged directive. And with Andy Van Slyke going on a St. Louis radio station and shot his mouth off about Clayton Kershaw wanting Puig to be traded, it has almost become a game of chicken: Keep the young, cost-controlled outfielder who has his issues or trade him to appease the franchise player? It might not be that simple.

Normally, the face of the franchise gets what he wants. If Kershaw wants A.J. Ellis to stick around, he’s going to stick around. If Kershaw wants to start an elimination game in the playoffs on short rest, he’s going to do so. But, if what Van Slyke said was true — and all we have is that embarrassing radio interview (starts at the 1:50 mark) — will Kershaw get what he allegedly wants? I’m guessing no, mostly because this seems really out of character for Kershaw.

Look, if Puig is traded this offseason, I’m not going to attribute it to Kershaw at all. Trading Puig for the right deal is something this front office would do. Hell, it would trade anyone for the right deal. But trading Puig only makes sense in that scenario — something we’ve said many times on this web log.

Odds are, this is all being blown out of proportion by the media. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet. Puig has an extremely team-friendly contract, is going into his age-25 season and has almost limitless potential. He does need to get better in certain areas — something Andrew Friedman openly admitted. But trading him for the sake of trading him isn’t going to happen. Trading him to upgrade the rotation and potentially other parts of the club might happen. I’m still somewhat skeptical he gets moved, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him patrolling right field in Cleveland, Chicago, New York or any other MLB city (except San Francisco or Miami) come 2016.

I didn’t want to write about this, but hey, content! Or something.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.