The Giants haven’t taken the field for over a month and there’s a transactions freeze for Major League front offices, but that didn’t keep a spicy rumor from igniting the fan base Sunday.
Francys Romero, a baseball writer who focuses on the game in Cuba, tweeted that longtime Giants nemesis Yasiel Puig was close to a deal with the club. Sources shot that down to numerous beat writers — including this one — and manager Gabe Kapler threw cold water on the rumor during his weekly appearance on KNBR. Kapler was asked about the connection failing to gain traction with those who cover the team.
“I can say that you guys are on the right track,” Kapler responded. “The fact that it wasn’t covered I think tells everybody everything that they need to know. Keep it short, sweet and simple.”
Puig was at one point a target for the Giants in the offseason, but those talks calmed down a bit after the team reunited with Hunter Pence the day before FanFest. Still, there are people in the organization who wouldn’t be surprised if Puig one day ends up in the building.
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The longtime Dodger — who spent last season with the Reds and Indians — would fill a hole for a team that still doesn’t have a set outfield. The problem from a roster construction standpoint is he could also fill a role that could be given to a younger player. The Giants have Alex Dickerson and Hunter Pence in left and plan to move Mike Yastrzemski around, but they also were hoping to take a long look at Jaylin Davis. Austin Slater remains in the mix, too.
Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have focused on building depth, though. For example, they signed Wilmer Flores when they already had appealing in-house options at second base. Puig, who struggled mightily to find a job as a free agent, would be a similar bet.
He is, of course, a different case. Puig’s history is well documented and includes four altercations with the Giants, although three were with Madison Bumgarner, who now is an Arizona Diamondback.
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A Puig signing would not be popular with much of the fan base, but that’s an issue for another day. As Kapler indicated, nothing is imminent. The Giants couldn’t alter their outfield even if they wanted to. Rosters are frozen, with no timetable for when the sport might return.