Dodgers Eliminated From Playoffs Early – Time To Trade Yasiel Puig?
By Dan Hughes
The Los Angeles Dodgers, many people’s preseason choice to win the World Series, received an early exit from the postseason Tuesday night as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated them in Game 4 of the NLDS, 3-2. The inevitable NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw gave up a 3-run homer in the 7th inning to Matt Adams as Kershaw exposed the Dodgers’ main weakness: the bullpen. Or, the fact that they don’t want to use the bullpen.
Manager Don Mattingly stuck with Kershaw a little too long in Game 1, as he allowed six runs in an eight-run 7th inning by the Cardinals to win that one. Staked to a 4-run lead, Mattingly wanted to ride his horse as long as he could and it bit him in the butt.
In Game 4, working on three days rest, Kershaw was terrific through six innings. He allowed only two walks and one hit while striking out nine, including the side in the 6th after getting a 2-0 lead.
But Kershaw allowed back-to-back singles to start the 7th and then the 3-run homer by Adams finished his night.
Yasiel Puig was removed from the starting lineup due to his inefficiencies at the plate (seven straight strikeouts). But his triple at the end of Game 3 could have been the catalyst for change in his approach. Instead of riding that, Mattingly chose to sit him.
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The outfield-by-committee experiment in LA failed. Four outfielders is not necessary in the National League – when one can’t DH.
The Dodgers need an MLB-ready shortstop as they are about to lose Hanley Ramirez to free agency. They also need bullpen depth. Enter, the Seattle Mariners.
I propose that the Mariners attempt a trade for Yasiel Puig.
Now before some of you prepare the torches and pitchforks, preparing to run me out of town, hear me out.
What is the one major knock on Puig? He is immature, and has a hard time with authority.
So what if, you were to put a guy like Puig, under the tutelage of a guy like Robinson Cano and allow him to learn and mature? I think being around Cano and Felix Hernandez for that matter, is exactly what a guy like Puig needs to focus and blossom as a ballplayer.
He also solves a few needs for Seattle. He is a right-handed bat, with power, that can play the outfield.
Here is his line from this year:
148 G, 558 AB, 92 R, 37 2B, 9 3B, 16 HR, 69 RBI, 11 SB, 67 BB, 124 K, .296/.392/.480
Put those numbers in the Mariners lineup and this team makes the playoffs this past year. With all of the hype surrounding the Mariners going after Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp, it could just be that people were focusing on the wrong Dodger outfielder.
It seems that Mattingly might be fed up with Puig, it seems Puig may be fed up with him, some fans have given up on him – not the majority, but a lot have jumped off the wagon. Why not send Puig to Seattle? A gap hitter with power – much like Cano – who could learn a lot from Cano’s experience and calmness on the field.
So what would it take to land Puig? Honestly, I believe that if the Mariners offered up Brad Miller (or Chris Taylor – but I’d rather trade Miller) and Charlie Furbush (or Dominic Leone) and a Triple-A pitcher (say perhaps, Blake Beavan) that this deal could (emphasis on COULD) get done.
Now, after talking with the folks at Lasorda’s Lair, they are of the opinion that they would not be open to trading him. In fact, the response I received was aimed more at hopes of firing manager Don Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti, then moving anyone.
That is certainly a possibility, especially given the payroll and expectations of this club this season.
But I’d like to think there is a chance. A small one, but a chance to see #66 patrolling rightfield for the Mariners for the next five to six years (He’s under club control until 2020, arbitration eligible in 2019).
But, it could just be the fantasy of a sportswriter, dreaming of being able to switch his son’s loyalties from the Dodgers to the Mariners, by pilfering his favorite player. Only time will tell.