Yasiel Puig to Boston would be a welcomed move by the Red Sox.
With the hopeful start of the 2020 MLB regular season just a few weeks away, the excitement is beginning to build. Before the season begins, there are still plenty of potential moves to be made by major league teams. For the Red Sox, in an offseason where so much of the movement has been departing Boston, signing a popular name free agent would be a quality move for this new-look front office.
Former Dodgers and Reds right fielder, Yasiel Puig, remains a free agent as of now and last night saw word of mouth linking him with a potential move to Boston. Jon Heyman mentioned the Red Sox among teams who are a possibility to sign Puig on MLB Network. This by no means certifies that the Sox are a strong suitor for the 2014 All-Star, however it does bring up the debate over whether or not Puig would be worth signing. And, the answer to that question is yes.
After trading away superstar right fielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers this offseason, the Sox are going to find them in desperate need of players who can bring offensive productivity to support the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez and keep this Boston offence among the deadliest in the league.
The Red Sox did acquire Kevin Pillar and obviously picked up Alex Verdugo in that Betts deal. Pillar averaged .264 in 2019 with the Giants, batting in 87 in the process, showing that he still has plenty left to give to an organisation. The Sox got Pillar for just $4.25 million for the year, which should prove to be a very efficient signing.
Verdugo is still developing and he showed with the Dodgers that he’s ready to make a difference at the major league level. So, with those two the Sox at least have options to cover the hole left by Betts.
But, with Puig, you have a player who you know, if dialed in, can provide big numbers and bit hits during the important moments. In what will be a 60-game regular season, Puig provides that firepower and the ability to get hot that could be vital down the stretch this year. He’s someone who can be the different between making the playoffs or not.
In 2019 with the Reds and Indians, Puig averaged .267, hit 24 home runs and provided 84 RBI. He also recorded 56 XBH. His power would be most welcomed in this Red Sox lineup. These are similar stats to Pillar, but Puig has more consistency and has the ability to reach a higher level of productivity at the plate.
You have two solid hitters right now in Pillar and Verdugo, if you add in Puig to a group of outfielders that already includes Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. then you’ve got yourself a squad. Pillar’s ability to play center field will give the Red Sox an opportunity to rest Bradley and then you’ve got Verdugo who can slot into the RF spot, but with Puig you have so much more versatility. If you have that group and they can all find a way to provide vital runs for the side, added with the elite level of talent that is present at the left side of the infield, then who knows what can happen in such a shortened season this year?
The main factor here is going to be money. As the Sox look to continue cutting what they’re spending, they’ll be looking to make the players they bring in as cheap as possible. Puig’s 2019 contract with the Reds was a one-year deal totaling $9.7 million. If they could bring this down then it a deal could happen, but there could likely be other sides that would offer Puig more.
However, it’s a deal the front office should consider, especially given the circumstances surrounding this upcoming season. Puig would be a quality signing for any side, but he could become an extremely influential one if Boston are the ones who get him.