Will the Miami Marlins once again explore the option of signing veteran outfielder Yasiel Puig who remains a free agent this far into Spring Training?
It’s hard to believe that of all the top Major League free agents this winter, Yasiel Puig is still looking for work. It might be even more shocking he isn’t wearing a Marlins jersey and participating in workouts at the team’s facility in Jupiter, Florida.
"“Look at any list of the top MLB free agents written going into this past offseason, and Yasiel Puig is the only one who remains available now that we’re into March,” writes Brad Berreman of FanSided.com.“As the start of the regular season approaches, it may take an injury to a notable outfielder over the next couple weeks to open up an opportunity for the now 29-year-old.”"
That’s not good for Puig, who was rumored to be headed all over the MLB map this offseason with his final destination being South Florida, a place he seemed to be happy with until contract negotiations began.
Puig would have been a solid pickup for this organization. A strong Grapefruit showing, along with many changes to this organization have the Marlins sitting in an unfamiliar position right now – winners and the darlings of baseball. It may not last, but for now, this franchise will take any kind of optimism it can muster, especially since rosters will change and promise will move on to the minor league system.
But the real question for this story, as Berreman talks about, is which team would benefit the most from adding the veteran and controversial slugger to its roster.
The answer Berreman gives is five potential teams with the Marlins at the top of the list.
"“Puig split last season between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, with a total slash-line of .267/.327/.458 (.785 OPS), 24 home runs and 84 RBI over 611 plate appearances,” Berreman adds.More from Marlins NewsMiami Marlins are pursuing Michael ConfortoMiami Marlins need to spend to winMiami Marlins can’t afford to botch this tradeMiami Marlins news: the New York Mets are a risky threatMiami Marlins keep missing out on stars“He strikes out a lot and walks little, and he was merely a league-average hitter based on OPS + (100) and wRC+ (101). But there’s certainly room somewhere for a league-average hitter who can still get on hot streaks, and provides neutral value as a defensive outfielder.”"
Looking at the Marlins outfield right now, you see a group of players both young and older who are competing to make a change in this organization’s shortcomings. Jonathan Villar is now the centerfielder. Corey Dickerson – the player the team signed in place of Puig – should be in one of the corner spots. There is depth with Matt Joyce and other current Marlins.
And there is plenty of potential for the future down on the farm. Monte Harrison has a real shot at being on the roster at the end of the month.
The connection between the Marlins and Puig stems from the relationship between their skipper and the player from their days on the west coast. Could that become a deciding factor in determining if Puig joins the team at some point this year? If the Marlins jump out to a slow start and the power the team envisioned in the lineup isn’t there, you could see some movement in that direction.
"“Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager from 2011-2015, which included the early part of Puig’s career,” Berreman explained.“So on that basis of familiarity, there might be a fit there. Miami could also certainly use any sort of offensive boost, as well as someone who can play one or both of the corner outfield positions.”"