The legend of Yasiel Puig continues to grow, and speculation that he will start with the year with the Dodgers went from 0% just a week ago to … something non-0% recently, though the long-term question remains where he’ll end up playing for the team even if he does live up to the hype.
Sure, Carl Crawford is out for a week or two (or a month) and he could get injured again, but it’s no guarantee. Plus, A-Gon is anchored at first, so no moving Andre Ethier there.
So maybe a trade, right?
So do the Dodgers, though the decision on Puig involves enough people that it can’t take place in the keep-your-25-best vacuum. Crawford’s return from Tommy John surgery complicates things. If he is ready April 1 for the season opener against the defending champion Giants, Puig is far less likely to stay. The Dodgers want him to play every day. Their current outfield of Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have contracts worth a combined $387 million.
“We’ve got a pretty sexy outfield even without him,” Dodgers starter Zack Greinke said.
Indeed, though freeing up a spot for Puig by trading Crawford or Ethier is a possibility. One of the great advantages of the $7 billion local-television deal the Dodgers signed this offseason is paying the freight for trading partners in exchange for a greater haul of talent. Which means that if the Dodgers find a shortstop or third baseman they like – because Luis Cruz and Juan Uribe aren’t exactly bright spots for the highest-paid team in the history of professional sports – they could offer players and cash.
“Send me Ethier and $85 million,” said one GM, referring to the amount owed on the right fielder’s five-year contract, “and I’ll give you whoever you want.”
Basically the beginning of this then:
No matter how much money a team has, there are limited roster spots, and the more the team invests big money in players they might not really want, the harder it is to move them to teams who DO care about money without operating at an extreme loss … and really horribly stupid.
Perhaps the scarier thought though is that the Dodgers might actually be willing to do something close to what’s proposed by the opposing GM because if Puig is as good as advertised, they might not have a choice.