Looking to propel the Los Angeles Dodgers back into postseason contention, the newly-implemented Guggenheim Baseball Management ownership group backed a number of splashy acquisitions throughout the 2012 season.
Among them was the midseason addition of Hanley Ramirez and a nine-player blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the organization.
The Dodgers also made their presence felt in the international free agency market that year, signing top Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract.
It was a refreshing change of pace for L.A., who had been limited from pursuing such talent during the final years of Frank McCourt’s tumultuous tenure as Dodgers owner.
The addition of Puig not only infused new talent into the organization, but re-energized a fanbase that needed a lift. He would make his long anticipated MLB debut against the San Diego Padres on June 3, 2013 at Dodger Stadium.
That night — along with the ensuing games — were ranked the No. 7 on DodgerBlue.com’s best moments from the past decade list.
Puig went 2-for-4 in the contest, but made the biggest impact with his glove by doubling up Chris Denorfia at first base with a throw from the right field wall to end the game.
Puig picked up where he left off the following night by slugging the first two home runs of his MLB career, helping the Dodgers pull out a 9-7 win over the Padres. He finished the 2013 season with a stellar .925 on-base plus slugging, 42 extra-base hits and 42 RBI in 104 games.
Puig enjoyed an up-and-down six-season career with the Dodgers, placing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting, earning one All-Star selection and advancing to two World Series.
His stint with the organization came to an end during the 2018 offseason when he, along with Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Kyle Farmer, were shipped to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the contract of Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
Puig appeared in 100 games for the Reds this past season before being flipped to the Cleveland Indians just prior to the July 31 trade deadline. He posted an .800 on-base plus slugging with the organization, seemingly improving his stock ahead of reaching free agency at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Top Dodgers moments of the previous decade
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