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Despite Missing Last Year, Yasiel Puig Drawing Interest

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Yasiel Puig was ready to suit up for the Atlanta Braves after signing a one-year deal in July, but the deal went by the wayside after Puig testing positive for COVID-19. Now, the 29-year-old outfielder has all intentions of returning the Major Leagues by the time the 2021 season opens.

It appears that Yasiel Puig, who hit .267 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 2019 while playing for the Reds and Indians, is already getting interest from several teams. It appears three American League teams, the Red Sox, Orioles, and Astros are showing interest. Any deal that is likely reached would be loaded with incentives. The fact that American League teams appear to be showing most interest is intriguing, given that Yasiel Puig all but 49 of his 861 Major League games in the National League.

Puig also has been plagued with hamstring injuries, lawsuits and behavioral issues, particularly a three-game suspension last season after getting involved in brawl during a game against the Pirates while with the Indians. Puig appears serious is his attempts to play next season, indicating that he is willing to put in the work and wants 2021 to be a new chapter of his career.

Clearly blessed with talent, Yasiel Puig was second in the NL Rookie of the Year and has had four straight seasons with over 20 home runs. A healthy Puig can put up 30 home runs and 100 RBI. The question remains whether he will really stay focused and committed to putting the work in to be ready for next season. He also needs to tone down his temper and avoid any behavioral issues.

I would be surprised if National League teams do not also begin to show interest in Puig. Having spent most of his career in the National League, Yasiel Puig is much more familiar with the pitching and still likely hasn’t seen a large portion of the American League arms. Stay tuned to see how this plays out. I believe that it’s worth a gamble for any team to sign Puig for an incentive-laden one-year deal with a chance to extend beyond the 2021 season.

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