Ah, dear reader, the MLB news -- it never stops.
Shortly after the MLB Players Association officially approved a deal to play a 60-game season in 2020, the Giants were linked to a long-term thorn in their side. San Francisco expects "to be players for" free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig once the roster freeze is lifted, CBS Sports' Jim Bowden reported Tuesday, citing sources close to the Giants' front office.
The Giants have been linked to Puig all offseason, even before MLB delayed the start of its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler downplayed reports Puig was close to a deal with the team, but the Giants have been a rumored suitor for as long as Puig has been a free agent.
Puig slashed .267/.327/.458 in 149 games with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland last season, finishing with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. The right-handed slugger has hit well at Oracle Park, too, slashing .299/.361/.477 in 191 career plate appearances in San Francisco. That was in the park's old dimensions, and the National League's reported implementation of the designated hitter bolsters Puig's case as a Giants target.
Of course, "thorn in the side" is probably an understatement. Puig, to many Giants fans, is Public Enemy No. 1. NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic ranked Puig No. 2 on the list of the Giants' most hated opponents in recent history. Madison Bumgarner will only man the Oracle Park mound as a visitor next season, but there is plenty of institutional memory of Puig's bad blood with the Giants. The former Los Angeles Dodger wouldn't have to worry about winning over icy Giants fans in person this season, considering the unlikelihood fans will attend games in San Francisco due to the pandemic.
Players are set to report to camps on July 1, so it surely won't be long before Puig joins a team. In an MLB season defined by strangeness, seeing Puig in a Giants uniform probably won't crack the top-10 weirdest things to happen.
That probably won't make it any easier for Giants fans who aren't chaos-inclined to root for Puig.
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