Dodgers Invest In Yasiel Puig

The Dodgers dipped into the international market for the first time under new ownership Thursday morning, reportedly agreeing to a seven-year, $42 million deal with Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig. The 21-year-old Puig broke out in the Cuban Serie Nacional (the nation’s top league) during the 2009-10 season, hitting .330/.430/.581 with 17 home runs in 327 at-bats.

The deal blows past Yoenis Cespedes‘s $36 million deal as the record for a Cuban player defecting to the major leagues. In terms of average annual value, Puig’s $6 million per year sits under Cespedes’s $9 million but above the roughly $5 million promised to Aroldis Chapman by the Reds and the $3.3 million promised to Jorge Soler by the Cubs.

Danny Knobler and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports had two interesting notes on the signing. First, from Heyman:

And from Knobler:

Puig’s Cuban numbers back up the possession of a solid hit tool (just 39 strikeouts in 327 at-bats) as well as discipline (49 walks) and power (.251 ISO), at least as far as international statistics can. Clay Davenport roughly compared Cuban baseball to Class Low-A, and Puig’s numbers at age 19 (he didn’t play in 2010-2011 due to discipline over his attempts to defect) would be impressive there.

Speed is speed, and Puig hit six triples with his Cuban team but also was thrown out in four of his nine stolen base attempts. Evaluation of Puig’s defense will be toughest of all. Workouts can show raw ability, but they may not show the kind of reactions and decision-making necessary to defend at the MLB level.

It may seem rash to commit $42 million to a player with no first-hand knowledge of how he plays in games. But, given Heyman’s note that the Dodgers weren’t the high bidder (at least in terms of gross dollar amount; it’s possible a team offered more years and a lower average salary), it appears less that the Dodgers were smitten by one great workout and more that there is something legitimately enticing about the player. At least one scout has noted his power as “not quite Giancarlo Stanton or Bryce Harper, but close.”

Perhaps more importantly, this contract is another point showing the Dodgers’ new willingness to invest in baseball, following on the heels of Andre Ether’s $85 million extension. Although every franchise has limits, the new Dodgers are set to spend at a level previously unforeseen in Chavez Ravine. Yasiel Puig is about as unknown as a $42 million commodity can get, but the ability and desire to invest in a player with his potential was lacking in Los Angeles as Frank McCourt’s financial issues piled on. Even if Puig doesn’t pan out, the investment in his talent and potential is a positive development for the Dodger franchise.



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Steve
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Steve
4 years 1 day ago

insane

jdbolick
Member
Member
4 years 1 day ago

I’ve read other scouts questioning his power, so having that one describe him as “close” to Stanton or Harper seems to highlight that they’re throwing darts in the dark on this guy.

John
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John
4 years 1 day ago

No team would pay $42 million for a kid tearing up A ball.

Aaron (UK)
Member
Aaron (UK)
4 years 1 day ago

They would if the concept of the draft didn’t exist

TiensyGohan
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TiensyGohan
4 years 1 day ago

They weren’t getting $42 mil. before. People are paying premium to get in on the Cubans before the new rules kick in. That doesn’t magically raise the value of such players.

Garrett
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Garrett
4 years 1 day ago

Uh, yes they would.

Michael
Guest
Michael
4 years 1 day ago

A kid who tore up A ball two years ago in limited at bats, and hasn’t played since.

Very, very, very bizarre. Probably a huge overpay, but we know so little about the Puig who can be sure?

cpebbles
Guest
cpebbles
4 years 16 hours ago

Scott Boras had no trouble finding a team willing to pay $10.2 million to a kid who tore up high school ball in 1996, and I think that’s roughly equivalent to $42 million today in baseball economics.

PiratesHurdles
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PiratesHurdles
4 years 1 day ago

Can’t wait for 7/2 to put an end to this nonsense. There is no way this kid would have gotten this much without the impending rule changes.

$42 million is getting near what Bruce and McCutchen are getting paid to be stars for 6 years. Insanity for a guy that they have never scouted.

Just imagine what Michael Ynoa would have gotten in this environment.

Krog
Member
Krog
4 years 1 day ago

I’d much rather athletes get paid money for their work then owners to get rich off of, well, not working.

Trey Baughn
Member
Member
Trey Baughn
4 years 1 day ago

I’ve never understood the angst against owners. Why aren’t they working? How do you think they earned the money to buy the team in the first place? Should we be shocked that they try to earn a return on their investment?

PiratesHurdles
Guest
PiratesHurdles
4 years 1 day ago

Not sure why this has anything to do with the owners/players share. The new rules shift spending from amateur players who haven’t done anything useful to help a team win into the pockets of MLB players.

My comment was along those lines, why would a team gamble a sum so large on this kid when a player like Jay Bruce did everything right and IS a star player gets similar money.

This spree is kind of like the crazy rookie contracts NFL teams were handing out prior to fixing the draft slots.

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
4 years 13 hours ago

Jay Bruce is woefully underpaid. That’s the point. The salary system in the majors gives players little to no negotiating power until they become free agents, and thus, if they turn into even decent players, are worth far more than they are paid. For Puig to be worth $42 million, he would only need to accumulate eight WAR over six years, without any inflation. That’s not even a particularly good player.

ecp
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ecp
4 years 1 day ago

My own modest opinion, but I think somebody is blowing smoke at Jon Heyman. Maybe even the Dodgers themselves. Everything I’ve heard is that Puig is nowhere near the prospect that Soler is.

jdbolick
Member
Member
4 years 1 day ago

I’m not buying that given that he’s far more accomplished than Soler at the same age. I don’t know who to believe about his power potential, but everyone agrees that he has well above average speed.

ecp
Guest
ecp
4 years 1 day ago

From Baseball America on Tuesday:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/international-affairs/2012/2613609.html

“Reports from scouts on 21-year-old Cuban corner outfielder Yasiel Puig have been underwhelming…teams have reported that his conditioning appears to be an issue…scouts seemed lukewarm at best on him…there are question marks about both his bat and his rawness in the outfield…”

From Baseball Prospectus today:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17521

“Puig has plus-plus raw power, but reviews on every other tool vary wildly for the 21-year-old. Some think he has speed, some think he’s merely an average runner, and there are definite concerns about the stiffness of his swing and a history of swing-and-miss.”

Doesn’t sound like everybody agrees he’s fast. Nor does he sound more accomplished than Soler.

jdbolick
Member
Member
4 years 15 hours ago

@ecp
Soler barely played in Serie Nacional, while Puig was one of its top performers. So yes, Puig was vastly more accomplished at the same age. And regardless of what BP says, I haven’t seen anyone who actually scouted Puig question his speed, whether or not he deserved the “fastest player in Cuba” moniker sometimes attached to him.

Robb Rowe
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Robb Rowe
4 years 1 day ago

The new Dodger ownership has spoken… and they have a sexy voice.

Steve
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Steve
4 years 1 day ago

They’ve committed over $300M to their outfield in the last 6 months.

The Yankees are ruining baseball!!!

Bill King
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Bill King
4 years 1 day ago

I bet Mark Appel wishes he were from Cuba

dnc
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dnc
4 years 1 day ago

If he does, he’s pretty short-sighted. Getting paid millions to play a game in your own country where you can freely see your own family and have no fears for their safety >>>>>>> Risking your life to escape from a totalitarian regime to get paid tens of millions to play a game in a foreign country while fearing for the well being of everyone you love.

I get what you’re saying, but Appel has it far, far better than Puig ever will, no matter how many more millions Puig makes in the game.

Ash
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Ash
4 years 1 day ago

What makes you think he won’t fly his family over to the US? You make Cuba sound like North Korea

dnc
Guest
dnc
4 years 1 day ago

Who is the last Cuban defect who nonchalantly flew their family over to the US? Cuba’s not North Korea, but it’s pretty damn oppressive.

Ned Colletti
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Ned Colletti
4 years 1 day ago

I bet you guys thought I was waiting to pounce on Alfonso Soriano. That the old Ned-meister was afraid of humidity. Well, suck on DEEZ!!!

(I’m still gonna go get Soriano, but I had to do this first)

YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
4 years 1 day ago

As a Giants fan, I think this is a fantastic signing.

Table
Guest
Table
4 years 23 hours ago

Rape Fu Panda

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
4 years 13 hours ago

Rape is really not a word to use lightly.

DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy
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DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy
4 years 12 hours ago

There’s a Hurt Locker 2?

The Artful Dodger
Member
The Artful Dodger
4 years 1 day ago

This wasn’t the first foray for ownership into the international market as they signed about 20 players within the last 6 weeks. None were huge names, but it was a big step for them given the lack of international activity under the McCourts.

Regarding 7/2 – the market wouldn’t be behaving this way in the first place if it wasn’t for the cap that’s coming. A cap that is far too small. And Jay Bruce was cost-controlled when he signed his contract. So was Andrew McCutcheon. They’re not going to get more money because of the international spending cap, they were just in incredibly different situations. McCutcheon had what, 4 years of control left when he signed his deal? Puig was a free agent. THIS is the free market. All the deals that you see players under control getting are way suppressed. And it matters because the owners aren’t going to be redirecting the money saved on the international market to free agents, they’re just going to line their pockets with it.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
4 years 1 day ago

I have a hard time understanding the mentality that says owners should spend all of their profits and more on salaries and equates players “only” making $7 or 8 million per year with indentured servants. We have seen over and over again that there is not a direct relationship between team salaries and performance . I would prefer to root for a team which manages its money wisely and knows what it is doing than one which operates like the US government and tries to solve every problem by throwing massive amounts of money at it .

Jeff Mathis does Steroids
Guest
Jeff Mathis does Steroids
4 years 1 day ago

Question: Doesn’t the new CBA limit how much teams can spend on foreign free agents? Or does that only apply to the 17 year olds in the acadamies? Can someone please explain to me why this was able to happen. Is it because he wasn’t technically an amatuer (played pro ball in Cuba) when he signed? Just like how NPB players can hit the market full force.

Zeke
Guest
Zeke
4 years 15 hours ago

Those particular new rules don’t go into effect until next week.

Derek
Guest
Derek
4 years 1 day ago

Everyone agrees that Puig is fast. He wasn’t in good shape when he worked out for clubs and he was also sick. People have to remember this has been a whirlwind for him. Teams didn’t get to look at him that much because of him trying to leave agents.

No one thinks he has the same level of talent as Jorge Soler. Soler has uber talent. He’s a Harper/Trout type talent.

From what I’ve read Puig is more comparable to a Leonys Martin but with more speed, power and a better bat. So he should be a top50 prospect .once he gets back in shape.

He was no matter what people say one of the best players in Cuba and at a very young age. He also put up similar numbers to when Cespedes was young.

jdbolick
Member
Member
4 years 15 hours ago

Holy cow. Soler is absolutely not anything like a “Harper/Trout type talent.” Not even remotely close. Moreover, there is plenty of debate as to whether Soler or Puig has the brighter future.

Derek
Guest
Derek
4 years 1 day ago

As a Dodgers fan I’m actually happy they made the move. They need hitters in the farm system and Puig will instantly become one of their best hitting prospects(probably only behind Seager, if he signs, and maybe Joc Pederson).

It is strange that the Dodgers have dipped in the Cuban market so much recently. With P Raydel Sanchez(top international signing last year), SP Onelkis Garcia(3rd round pick), Alfredo Unzue(26th round pick loogy), C Selme Angulo(UDFA) and OF Yasel Puig they have acquired 5 Cubans in the last year.

Dodgers fans are just happy to see them willing to go out and spend money. Yes they spent too much but they are a big market team. They can afford to take huge risks. They’ve now signed two big international free agents(Bryan Munhoz the other).

Mike
Guest
Mike
4 years 5 hours ago

The Dodgers under Colletti/McCourt blew nearly $40 million on Juan Uribe and Matt Gurrier, both of whom everyone on this board new were below average, borderline replacement level players.

At least this unknown talent has upside and if he is a complete washout, at least he will not be getting actual ABs killing the Major League club like Juan Uribe…

I complained with a first guess at the former and I am quite pleased about the later…

David
Guest
David
2 years 3 months ago

This is a fun thread to read now.

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