Atlanta Braves

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig remains free agent after positive coronavirus test

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig remains free agent after positive coronavirus test

Yasiel Puig was expected to sign his deal with the Atlanta Braves shortly, but that reportedly no longer will happen.

Puig announced Friday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the wake of the positive test, major league sources told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that Puig will no longer be signing with the Braves.

Per Rosenthal, the Braves never had a formal agreement with Puig but intended to advance the negotiations if he tested negative. Puig now will quarantine until he returns two negative tests.

After a down 2019 spent with the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, the market for Puig never materialized. Rumors swirled during the offseason and spring about the potential for the Giants to bring in their former rival, needing to add some pop to an outfield that currently has a number of question marks. Once spring training was halted due to the pandemic, MLB froze rosters and Puig was left without a team.

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With the season expected to begin next week, Puig had decided to join the Braves but now will go back on the free-agent market. The Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins are teams that reportedly had shown interest in the outfielder.

While Puig is back on the market, it seems unlikely the Giants would try and sign him with Opening Day a week away. The Giants are set to enter the season with Mike Yastrzemski, Hunter Pence, Jaylin Davis, Alex Dickerson and Mauricio Dubon patrolling the outfield.

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

Yasiel Puig reportedly will not be wearing orange and black next season, and will be signing the Atlanta Braves.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first to report the news on Tuesday.

The Giants, in the beginning, reportedly were one of the teams in the running for the free-agent outfielder, but he will be going elsewhere.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on the Tim Kawakami Show that they weren’t “really having any active conversations with anyone outside the organization,” when asked about possibly acquiring Puig.

Puig to the Braves makes perfect sense as outfielder Nick Markakis has opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. He felt uneasy about playing without fans and was swayed a bit with Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman testing positive for the coronavirus.

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Puig joins outfielders Ender Inciarte, Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. in Atlanta, which shapes to be a rather strong group. 

For now, Puig still needs to pass a physical and a COVID-19 test before the deal becomes official. 

Puig is entering his eighth season in the majors and was an All-Star in 2014. Across seven seasons and three teams, Puig has a .277/.348/.475 slash line with 132 home runs and 415 RBI, which is good for an .823 career OPS.

Matt Olson views Freddie Freeman positive test as learning experience

Matt Olson views Freddie Freeman positive test as learning experience

Matt Olson spent the MLB hiatus in Atlanta which happened to be one of the first places to open up as far as the shutdowns were concerned. 

The good news was that meant the A’s first baseman was able to put in more work earlier than most in a more comfortable setting but knew the coronavirus was impacting the league -- and even beyond that.

The Georgia native was asked if he had been in contact with Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had recently tested positive for coronavirus and was struggling with some of his symptoms. 

“I haven’t had any contact with him,” Olson said in a Zoom interview with reporters on Sunday. “I obviously saw the news that it was hitting him pretty hard and I think his wife posted something that he was the guy that never gets sick and -- that kind of was a little bit of a wakeup to me because I feel like I’m that guy who doesn’t get sick too often and sometimes you could think you are a little invincible especially because we’ve been hearing that healthy people, it doesn’t affect too much.”

Olson knows it was an important moment to show that despite hearing young, healthy individuals are less immune to contracting the virus, that’s not always the case. 

“Obviously you hear everything from both ends of the spectrum now, but it’s eye-opening to see somebody in our situation, a professional athlete, stays in shape, all of that and he hit that wave, that Freeman was hit,” Olson said.

Olson wants to set a precedent to make sure he and his teammates are doing everything they can to protect themselves and those closest to them. 

“It just goes back to us doing our thing, being smart, not going out, exposing ourselves to those outside of the field, we’ve talked about it, we just have to be smart -- not only as players, but we got staff in here, we have everybody who goes home to their kids, wives, so we just can’t be selfish -- and do the right thing and stay safe,” Olson said.

[RELATED: Olson completely happy not being in the limelight]

Freeman was one of four Braves players who tested positive and the team’s manager Brian Snitker said on Saturday “it will be a while before” he will be back.

As of Friday, MLB announced there were a total of 66 positive tests which equated to 1.8 percent of the 3,748 samples tested.