Yasiel Puig Rumors: Marlins Met with Ex-Indians Star During MLB Winter Meetings

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians returns to the dugout after fielding during the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Miami Marlins reportedly met with free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig this week during the 2019 Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported the update Friday and noted the Marlins also held discussions with representatives for fellow outfielders Avisail Garcia and Corey Dickerson.

Puig played three seasons under Miami manager Don Mattingly while both were with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2013 through 2015. His best statistical season came as a rookie in 2013 when he posted a .925 OPS with 19 home runs and 11 stolen bases in just 104 appearances.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Puig suggested in meeting to Marlins he’d like to play again for Don Mattingly (and of course Derek Jeter). He’d also like to play near his Miami home. Was plus he trekked to San Diego for confab. Dickerson, Calhoun among others under consideration. Avisail might be a tad pricey.

The 29-year-old Cuba native split the 2019 season between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, who acquired him ahead of the trade deadline in July. He compiled a .267/.327/.458 triple-slash line with 24 homers and 19 steals in 149 games.

He thanked Cleveland for the opportunity after the regular season ended in September:

Yasiel Puig @YasielPuig

Thank you Cleveland! https://t.co/FjwG7hsN3a

Although Puig has started to garner a reputation as a hothead for his involvement in on-field fights, which has led to seven games worth of suspensions and nearly $290,000 in fines (via Spotrac), he's bounced back from a 2015-16 lull to provide his clubs with an offensive boost.

In all, the 2014 All-Star ranks 21st among qualified MLB outfielders in WAR (18.0) since making his debut in 2013, per FanGraphs.

That type of production would be a welcome sight for a Marlins offense that finished 29th in runs scored (615) and last in team OPS (.673) in 2019.

Both Dickerson (.906 OPS last season) and Garcia (.796) would also help a Miami club that's lagging behind in the ultra-competitive NL East.