With Pham injury, Yasiel Puig becomes necessary to boost plunging Padres

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The San Diego Padres are floundering after a 2-5 week, yet hope remains for a playoff berth. The Padres need to make some moves to boost the club after some critical injuries. 

When Padres outfielder Tommy Pham was removed from Sunday’s game with wrist discomfort, fans feared the worst. Most of those fears became a reality when it was reported on Monday morning that Pham had suffered a fracture of the hamate bone. It is expected he will miss at least 4-6 weeks, and when the season is just six weeks from being over, his season is in serious jeopardy.

The Padres traded for Pham along with breakout rookie Jake Cronenworth in exchange for Hunter Renfroe and hitting prospects Xavier Edwards and Esteban Quiroz. Pham has mostly disappointed in his first few weeks of action for San Diego, posting a .316 on-base percentage, far below his career .370 mark.

Now the Padres are facing a season without his steady veteran presence and on-base ability. Aside from center fielder Trent Grisham, the outfield situation all of a sudden is very murky. There is no word on whether or not Wil Myers will head to the injured list with a stiff back that kept him out of action on Sunday.

Former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig remains on the market. He nearly signed a deal with the Atlanta Braves ahead of the abbreviated season but contracted COVID-19, and the deal was off. It has been over a month since his positive test, suggesting he could very well have recovered and is ready for game action. He need only test negative twice over at least 24 hours to be eligible to play for a big-league club in 2020. Plenty of players have contracted the virus and returned to action over that same timeframe.

Puig offers something that Edward Olivares, Jorge Mateo, and Jurickson Profar cannot provide in San Diego’s outfield: a proven, league-average bat. Especially if the Padres must press on without Myers for an extended amount of time, signing Puig is almost a necessity.

Yes, Puig comes with some baggage. His on-field antics have polarized baseball fans for years, from licking bats, exploding at umpires, feuding with teammates, wagging his tongue freely, and being perfectly content taking on an entire team, (see, the Pittsburgh Pirates). However, aside from some trouble with the law while driving in his early years, most of his baggage seems to be of the on-field variety.

Some people call him a distraction or a “cancer,” but most call him “fun,” and what’s wrong with that?

Former Padres outfielder and fan-favorite Franmil Reyes commented on Puig as a teammate when the two were briefly together in Cleveland last season.

“Those who don’t know him, who haven’t spent time with him, don’t know and think differently…but coming here and having him as a teammate and seeing the kind of guy he is, he changed my mind completely.

“He’s someone who enjoys his game. The way he plays, that’s who he is. He shows the public and his teammates and his opponents who he is. He isn’t trying to be something different.”

Puig also brings some respectable production from an outfield bat, exactly what the Padres need. Over the last three years, Puig has put together a .265 average, .811 OPS, 112 OPS+, and 6.8 WAR. For reference, all of those numbers are better than Myers in that same time frame.

The Padres desperately need some production from the left-field spot, which collectively has hit .182 with a .535 OPS and -0.8 fWAR. Surely, Puig can do better than that.

Additionally, Puig would likely be very cheap, and it can even be for just the remainder of this season. He can treat this as a tryout to try and once again score big in the offseason, which has not worked out for him. Given the rampant talent on the Padres team, especially among those from Latin America like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Dinelson Lamet (Dominican Republic) and Manny Machado (Dominican-American), who formed a brief relationship with Puig in L.A., he would gel well with the clubhouse.

There has been no better time in the last 12 months to sign Yasiel Puig.

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Tony C
Tony C
3 years ago

No Puig! We don’t need a bandaid for 30 games. Give the younger outfielders the opportunity.

3 years ago

Puig lives for the fans. I wonder if he will become bored. Just a thought.

3 years ago

Why not. We need some outfield help, and his antics are overrated for the most part. The only one I might be worried about is if he would fued with teammates for whatever reason, and maybe going after umpires, but that happens sometimes. Big deal. Like the article said I think he would probably mesh well with a lot of the guys on the team already.

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