It has been reported that the Red Sox, Orioles, and Astros are interested in signing outfielder Yasiel Puig in free agency. Puig could be an upside signing and Boston should have the upper hand.
Baltimore would seem like the worst case scenario for Puig, as they aren’t close to contending and without fans in the stands there wouldn’t really be any point for Baltimore to bring him in. Houston is a viable landing spot, as Josh Reddick, Michael Brantley, and George Springer may not return with all being free agents.
But Boston seems like the best fit for the 29-year-old. Andrew Benintendi fell of a cliff last season and to make matters worse he had a season ending injury while running the base paths. Who knows if he would be a full-time starter if Puig has a great spring training and earns the left field spot. Alex Verdugo and Benintendi can also both play center field if the Red Sox don’t bring back Jackie Bradley Jr. or sign a guy like George Springer (those chances are very low Red Sox fans).
Puig is likely going to want to be on a winner and the Red Sox seem to be the most likely to contend among them, Houston, and Baltimore. It is important to note that Alex Cora could be a very positive leader for Puig, as he wasn’t in baseball last season and has had a history of not being the most serious player on the field. Cora would work well with not just him but Verdugo as well.
Puig is known for his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he was a star outfielder and placed second in the Rookie of the Year in 2013. After six years with the Dodgers, he was traded to Cincinnati and then to Cleveland where he wasn’t the same player he was early on in his career. He is a swing and miss guy at the plate, but when he connects it translates to the ball flying over the fence.
In 2019–his last year in MLB–he hit 24 home runs but also had a career high in strikeouts (133).
The Red Sox have plenty of holes to fill on the roster, and the Yasiel Puig market is something to keep an eye on this winter.
(Photo: Phil Long/AP)