“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
The biggest story in baseball this past weekend may have been the ill-advised comments by ex-Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke, the father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, who took to the airwaves to rip Robinson Cano and then implied that Clayton Kershaw recommended to management that Yasiel Puig be traded. Imagine the awkward position Andy put his own son in, who is said to be close friends with Kershaw?
“Robinson Cano was the single worst, third-place, everyday player I’ve ever seen for the first half of a baseball season. He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered, he played the worst defense I’ve ever seen — I’m talking about the worst defensive second baseman, ever, I’ve ever seen in 24 years in the big leagues.”
“Robinson Cano cost the GM his job. The hitting coach got fired because of Cano. And then the manager and the coaches got fired because of Cano, because that’s how much of an impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player, and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
“This is just between you and I. When the best player – the highest paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers – goes to the GM and…is asked what are (the needs of the Los Angeles Dodgers), this particular highest-paid player said, ‘The first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig.’ That’s all you need to know.”
Terrible job by the elder Van Slyke, who also said that Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is pitching with a torn ligament in his elbow. Wow…
I was asked a few times about the Mets potentially going after Puig if he is truly available. But first let me say that the chances the Dodgers sell low on Puig are very slim. Andrew Friedman is one of the brightest and most competent GMs in the game, and you can bet he would want max value for his tarnished phenom, and given the team’s stated priorities, he would demand a top young controllable starting pitcher in return.
After two MVP-caliber seasons in 2013 and 2014, Puig let his fame and ego swallow him up and he finished this season batting a disappointing .255 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 311 plate appearances. His 1.1 WAR in 2015 compared to a 10.2 WAR over his previous two seasons gives you a glimpse into how precipitous his decline was this season.
Still, at 25, the potential is still incredibly enormous and it’s that vast and immeasurable potential that any team will be trading for. That and the allure of the three years and $24 million remaining on his contract. It could be the steal of the century.
Assuming the Mets are ready to give up – I’m afraid to even say their names – to acquire Puig, one cannot ignore all the drama, all the baggage, all the bad vibes, the prima donna me-first attitude, and all the whispers of clubhouse acrimony that comes with this exciting young athlete.
Puig would certainly give the Mets the potent bat they sorely need in the lineup, and an elite run producer if only they can get him to screw his head on straight. But it’s still a big super-sized if.
At this point, Puig is a Mega Millions lottery ticket. Only it will cost you a lot more than five or ten bucks to buy in. The talent is obviously there. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all drooled watching him when he first debuted.
But it’s all that other non-baseball and off-the-field stuff that gives one pause. How will he fit in inside a clubhouse packed with young and impressionable players like Michael Conforto, Travis d’Arnaud, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and other Mets around his age? And more importantly, are you prepared to risk trading one of your top young arms to find out?
It’s very tempting, I’ll tell you that. But I’m dying to know what all of you think about going after such a dynamic talent like Yasiel Puig. Let’s talk about in the threads…