The Wild Horse has left the corral
It seemed inevitable that number 66 would not be a Dodger in 2019 but when the news came yesterday that the Dodgers had moved the iconic right fielder in an effort to clear salary space for possible future moves it still left many Dodger fans stunned that one of their favorite players would no longer be making tongue wags at them after some type of sensational play.
Number 66 was a victim of an overcrowded outfield, a top prospect who plays his position, or a possible free agent who also plays his position, along with the fact this was his last season under Dodger control.
Blake Harris at TrueBlueLA does an excellent recap of the Puig highlights. I can’t improve on that but I can impart my own little Puig history.
In the summer of 2012 Puig had been signed but very little was known of him. Well-known baseball writer Keith Law didn’t have many positive things to say about Puig but at some point, we got a photo of Puig playing in the Arizona rookie league and the basic reaction was Holy Shit. Puig might have been the best-muscled player I’d seen and word was starting to reach us that he had power, a gun for an arm, and was a bit of a wild card. Still, this was a man playing against boys in the rookie league so his stats were taken with a grain of salt.
That changed the following spring when Eric Stephen and Craig Minami were covering the team. Report after report came out that Puig was destroying the ball, and Craig who is the last person to get involved in hyperbole was saying that the sound of the baseball was just different when Puig was hitting.
As fans and bloggers, we were all excited but the Dodgers didn’t put Puig on the roster to start the season. Eric used to do a thing where he would ask all the contributing writers for Truebluela to write up Season Predictions and I wrote it up and forgot about it until Eric wrote this post at the end of the season.
There are some things we got right, many things we got wrong, but mostly this is an exercise to embrace the genius of Phil Gurnee.
Yup, I’m pulling a Trump and making this about me. It turns out I had been lucky enough to predict the exact date that Puig would make his debut and even though I wrote over 1,000 articles for TrueBlueLa from 2007 – 2013 this little lucky ditty is what I’m remembered for.
By June the Dodgers can not hold back the Dodgers fan chants of PUIG PUIG PUIG, and Yasiel Puig is inserted into the every day lineup against the Padres on June 3
For the next six years, Puig would infuriate but mostly entertain me with his antics. He was truly one of kind. I suspect that Puig will go one of two ways, The Raul Mondesi route where the highlights of his career all occurred before the age of 27, or the Roberto Clemente route whose talent explodes after his age 27 season. I hope the Reds and health give Puig a shot at 600 plate appearances, and like many, I plan to be in the stands on April 15th when the Reds come to Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers and Reds have become quite the trade partners. Who knows, on April 15th the Reds could have Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer, Connor Joe, and Alex Wood in the lineup. Wouldn’t that be something?