It sounds like Yasiel Puig could be heading for the San Francisco Giants once MLB play resumes. It would be an interesting addition for a number of reasons.
If indeed we do have an MLB season in 2020, it could be a strange year for San Francisco Giants fans. First, they saw their former star pitcher Madison Bumgarner leave for the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks via free agency. Now, they might be in a position where they are rooting for a former star from their hated rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was reported on Sunday that the Giants and outfielder Yasiel Puig, the biggest name left on the free agent market, are close to an agreement on a contract. According to the report, the two sides are awaiting an announcement on a return date for baseball before they make the signing official.
From a baseball standpoint, the 29-year-old Puig would add some needed outfield depth to a Giants team that appears to be at the beginning of a rebuild. Alex Dickerson, Billy Hamilton, Mike Yastrzemski, and Hunter Pence are among those currently in the outfield mix for the Giants. Puig would slot into right field, likely moving Yastrzemski to center and putting Hamilton in a better-suited role as a bench player.
It’s hard to know what the Giants would get out of Puig after his tale-of-two-seasons campaign in 2019. In 100 games with the Cincinnati Reds, he hit 22 home runs and had an OBP of just .302; in 49 games with the Cleveland Indians, he hit just two home runs but got his OBP up to .377. The Indians numbers appear to be an aberration, as his career has tended towards more power and less on-base capability as he’s gotten older.
Puig’s 24 total home runs would have led the Giants last season, so on the surface he’d be a helpful addition to the lineup. Yet this is all complicated by the fact that Puig played for the Dodgers from 2013 to 2018 and likely rubbed many Giants fans – and many others – the wrong way with his eccentric personality.
Will Giants fans now embrace him? The guess here is that, if he is indeed a difference-maker for their lineup, he could become a fan favorite. Hopefully, we’ll soon have a baseball season to find out.