As the 2021 Miami Marlins rumors continue to flow this offseason, Christina DeNicola of MLB notes in her article their interest in OF Yasiel Puig who did not play in 2020. Puig had negotiated a deal with the Braves but tested positive for COVID-19. Puig is a veteran outfielder with power who could assist at the corner spot.
Over seven Major League seasons, Puig has slashed .277/.348/.475 with 132 homers and 79 stolen bases. He hit a 122 OPS+ over 3,376 plate appearances. Puig recently signed with Agent Rachel Luba. Other clubs showing interest are Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Marlins, and Orioles. Mark Feinsand tweeted these teams appear to have varying levels of interest. Puig only wants an opportunity and he has been playing in the Dominican Winter League.
2021 Miami Marlins Rumors: Is Yasiel Puig Proven Power?
In 2012, Puig, 28, defected from Cuba and signed a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was traded to the Reds who then shipped Puig to Cleveland ahead of the July 31, 2019 trade deadline. Puig hit .263 with 23 homers, 67 RBI, 56 runs, and 16 stolen bases in 2019. The 30-year old is a right-handed bat with pop. Puig has played 761 games in right field. In December, Puig mentions teams don’t have to be scared anymore about his behavior on and off the field. This is a reflection of the positive impact made by new agent Rachel Loba. If the 2021 Miami Marlins rumors are true, adding Puig would do wonders to the Miami offense.
Puig has been productive against right-handed pitchers in recent seasons. If Ng can negotiate the right value; he is a massive upgrade. The Marlins ranked last in the majors with 36 home runs off of righties. Their RFs also ranked 30th in RBIs (13) and OPS (.534). Wild Horse could bring consistent production to RF. Last season’s, RFs slashed .186/.271/.263 while Puig’s 2019 slash line is .267/.327/.458 Plus, the large Cuban population may embrace Puig as a fan favorite. In addition to his bat, Puig brings athleticism and adds a plus/plus RF defense.
Fish Stripes’ own Juan Paez has suggested Nick Markakis, Nomar Mazara, Josh Reddick, and Eddie Rosario as other possible veteran options. With a full 40-man roster, adding a veteran free agent would require additional roster moves. While these are viable options; it seems to be hypothetical thus far. The first female GM in MLB, Ng, will consider a few internal candidates; Brinson Lewis, Monte Harrison, Jesus Sanchez, and JJ Bleday.
With the 2021 Miami Marlins rumors, there are some internal options. Lewis Brinson debuted in 2017. He has disappointed up until this past August. Brinson played well to close the season but did not see much time during the postseason. Spring Training will bring more clarity to Brinson’s 2021 trajectory. Ng’s interest in the Veteran free-agent market does not bode well for Lewis Brinson’s future with the Marlins. Once a top prospect, now in his fourth year, does not have much wiggle room and could be DFA.
The Brewers drafted Harrison in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft. On January 25, 2018, the Brewers traded Harrison, Isan Díaz, Lewis Brinson, and Jordan Yamamoto to the Miami Marlins for Christian Yelich. MLB.com ranked Harrison as Miami’s second-best prospect going into the 2018 season. Scouts tout Harrison’s athleticism. He smacked nine home runs and stole 20 bases in fewer than 250 plate appearances in 2019. He also slashed .274/.357/.451 with a 10.2% walk rate and a 29.9% strikeout rate. Harrison was promoted to the major leagues on August 3, 2020, and made his MLB debut the next day.
This league is considered pitcher-friendly, however, Bleday hit .257/.311/.379. His continued hitting prowess is no surprise after he led NCAA Division I with 27 homers and 192 total bases while leading Vanderbilt to the College World Series championship. If Bleday can maintain a high contact rate while adding additional power he should see his development quicken. A Pete Alonso type spring training could force the Marlins to add Bleday to the 40man. Bleday projects to be a productive corner-outfield option in 2022, if not sooner.
Jesus Sanchez who is playing in the Dominican Winter League has starter potential. Though only one month older than Bleday, Jesús Sánchez has more pro experience. He ascended to Triple-A in 2019 and already owns a spot on the Marlins 40-man roster. With the 2021 Miami Marlins rumors going around, they could add a veteran free agent just in time for Opening Day.
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