You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.
The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.
But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.
“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.
With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.
“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”
Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.
“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”
What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.
“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player. “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”
So, where will Puig end up? No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.
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