Yasiel Puig

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.

Farhan Zaidi says Giants not looking at Yasiel Puig, other free agents

Farhan Zaidi says Giants not looking at Yasiel Puig, other free agents

The Yasiel Puig-to-Giants rumors just won't go away.

But Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi brought a bucket of cold water to the rumor mill, and he poured it out earlier this week.

During an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami, Zaidi was asked if Puig was someone he could see talking to about signing with the Giants.

"Right now, we're really not having active conversations with anyone outside the organization," Zaidi said on the "TK Show" on Wednesday. "Like we talked about earlier, we're so focused on evaluating what we have in camp and we certainly had some guys step forward like Darin Ruf. And certainly want to see what a guy like Jaylin Davis can do this season if given a chance to in the outfield. So right now, we're not looking outside the organization at all."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Almost immediately after MLB and the Players' Association to a 60-game 2020 season, The Athletic's Jim Bowden reported, citing sources close to the Giants front office, that the team was expected to be players for Puig once the roster freeze ended.

That rumor came nearly three weeks ago, and since then Puig has remained a free agent.

MLB Insider Jon Heyman reported Saturday that the Baltimore Orioles are among the teams looking at Puig, but the outfielder isn't close to signing with a team.

While Puig would bring a much-needed spark to the Giants' clubhouse, Zaidi is right. The Giants simply have too many young players that need a chance to play and prove themselves at the major league level.

In addition to Davis, first-year Giants manager Gabe Kapler has to find playing time for Alex Dickerson, Steven Duggar, Billy Hamilton, Hunter Pence, Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski. Ruf has prior experience in the outfield, though he played first base the last three seasons while playing in Korea.

The Giants want to get prospect Mauricio Dubon time in center field, making the logistics even tougher. And we can't forget about top prospect Heliot Ramos, who could force his way onto the big league club at some point this season.

[RELATED: Krukow doesn't see Puig as a fit]

With the National League using the designated hitter this season, that will help with the logjam. But Kapler still has to find time for all those players.

Puig would have been a good idea if the Giants didn't have so many options in the outfield. But at this point, they just don't have the room for him.