Several teams are reportedly linked to free agent Yasiel Puig this offseason.
Much of the focus this offseason when it came to free-agent outfielders was on George Springer. He is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and teams looking for an outfielder may be considering giving Yasiel Puig a shot.
The veteran last played in 2019 with the Cleveland Indians and missed the 2020 season after testing positive for COVID-19 before officially signing a deal with the Atlanta Braves. He is only 30 years old and is routinely a positive-WAR player. That has several teams interested in his services, according to MLB insider Jim Bowden.
Puig rumored to be on the radar
Puig being linked to the New York Yankees is the biggest story from Bowden’s rumor. The outfield currently features Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, and Mike Tauchman. Puig would likely come in as a depth option on a short-term deal as he would have to earn a starting spot. Expecting to get big money may just be a dream after he missed 2020.
Signing with the Kansas City Royals or Miami Marlins would put him in a better position to show up as a member of the starting lineup right away. Both the Royals and Marlins aren’t known as big spenders, but they do routinely add veteran players. If the season gets off to a slow start, trades are sought out.
The Royals also added Carlos Santana this offseason, potentially signaling a desire to at least attempt to compete after four straight losing seasons.
Puig is going to need to build his name back up after a season away from the league. Signing a one-year deal with any of these teams can accomplish that goal as he tries to land one more big contract.
The veteran is a career .277 batter whose power numbers have gone up since 2017. He did not show any major decline in 2019 and COVID-19 was the reason for his absence in 2020. Landing in the right situation could revive Puig’s career and help a team in the process.