MLB News: Yasiel Puig Signs One-Year Deal With Atlanta Braves

The Major League Baseball season is moving closer to the first pitch of its COVID-19 forced 60-game season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants meeting on opening night. Baseball fans are anticipating the Dodgers’ opening game against the Giants and fans can visit bonus bets to get the latest reviews and tips before the first pitch of the game.

Clubs continue to prepare for the campaign and in the build-up to first pitch. On Tuesday the Atlanta Braves signed the last big-name free agent available, former Dodger Yasiel Puig. The 29-year-old outfielder joined the Braves on a one-year deal on July 14.

After six years playing with the Dodgers where he became a top hitter and cult favorite for fans, Puig was traded to the Cincinnati Red in late 2018. After just 100 games and a career-low .252 batting average, the Reds traded Puig to in-state rival the Cleveland Indians. He also recorded his worst on-base percentage of .302.

While Puig’s trade may have been met with frustration from Dodger fans prior to the 2019 campaign, the disappointment of seeing a fan-favorite go was tempered with the team’s play. The Dodgers finished with 106 wins, the second-most in Major League Baseball, and top star Cody Bellinger won the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

Puig’s production hadn’t met the Reds’ expectations in 2019 and with him becoming a free agent at the end of the campaign, chose to ship him in late July. Puig’s temperament also played a part in his move as two bench-clearing brawls helped usher him to the door.

Puig made over $9 million in 2019 combined with the Reds and Indians, and his salary was likely one reason for the Dodgers moving him prior to that season. In the outfielder’s final season at Dodger Stadium, he earned $7.4m. Puig had moved to the Reds along with Matt Kemp, left-hander Alex Wood, and infielder/catcher Kyle Farmer. The trade failed to spark the Reds, who finished 12 games under .500 in the National League Central.

After news emerged of Puig’s signing this week, questions were raised over the risk the Braves have taken adding the outfielder for the 60-game season. The Braves topped the NL East last season with 97 wins. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was called one of the top executives of the year in 2019. His signing of Puig could go one of two ways for the GM. Puig could shine for the team and replicate his 28-home run season from 2017 with the Dodgers or flame out like in Cincinnati.

The Braves took a big hit when outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of playing the 60-game season and Puig’s addition is one way to fill the void created. At least, it is hoped Puig can fill that gap. The Braves already have a solid cast of outfielders and could improve the group. Atlanta’s outfield consists of Ronald Acuña, Marcell Ozuna, Yasiel Puig, Ender Inciarte, and Adam Duvall.

Can Puig be the player he was in Los Angeles and help the Braves win a second straight NL East? Atlanta doesn’t need Puig to be the player he was. The team just needs him to add to the excellent collection of players in the outfield already. If Puig can contribute to the team for 60 games, which his contract is only good for the season, then it should be a good move by Anthopoulos.