Yasiel Puig could be the answer to the Giants’ outfield question.
No, no, no, hear us out.
The Giants badly need outfielders. In fact, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi called adding to the position “a high priority” after he arrived Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders, and the team could look to trade from its position of strength, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported.
Dodgers have a plethora of good outfielders, and Bellinger is the one most coveted. But of course he’s the 1 Dodgers most want to keep. Puig, Peterson, Taylor, even Verdugo more available. Dodgers. match up well with both marlins and indians.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018
Which brings us back to Puig possibly joining the Giants, who (for now) have Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater and Mike Gerber as the outfielders on their 40-man roster.
It goes without saying that Puig is better than all five of those guys. And he just turned 28, so he’s theoretically entering his baseball prime, even after launching 108 homers in six Dodgers seasons. He had back-to-back years of 28 and 23 homers — totals that easily would’ve led the toothless Giants, who hit 133 round-trippers as a team in 2018.
Puig also owns a cannon for an arm, and an enviable contract situation from a team perspective. He’s arbitration eligible, and MLB Trade Rumors projected him to receive $11.3 million — a relative bargain for an outfielder with his entire package.
That entire package, of course, includes a volatile side, most notably his August brawl with then-Giants catcher Nick Hundley. But Puig is set to become a free agent in 2020, so the Giants would take one season to see if bygones can be bygones, and if the slugger’s bat flips, bluster and bravado look better in orange and black than they did in Dodger Blue.
If not, no big deal. Puig walks, and whatever little is traded to L.A. for a one-year rental, along with some money, is lost. But if it works? That Coca-Cola bottle in left field might need a new paint job after being peppered by Puig.
Zaidi seems content to let the outfield market develop, but he also knows Puig, having served as the Dodgers’ general manager during four of the slugger’s six seasons. One quick Zaidi phone call to his former employer might be all it takes to make Puig your friend, not your enemy, Giants fans.