Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Showing Interest in Yasiel Puig
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays have been linked to the best free-agent slugger left on the market.
The Tampa Bay Rays believe they can win right now and they’ve made moves that back that thought up this offseason.
With Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos signed with the Braves and Reds, it left Yasiel Puig as the best option remaining. Depending on whose list you are reading, Puig has been ranked ahead of both Ozuna and Castellanos as the top outfield free agent.
Jon Heyman is reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays have shown interest in Yasiel Puig.
How Puig Fits
The Rays made substantial changes to their outfield this off-season by trading away Tommy Pham‘s on-base ability in exchange for Hunter Renfroe‘s power and defense.
It’s uncertain if Renfroe will be an everyday player or not. It’s uncertain if Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will be able to play left field at the major-league level. It’s highly doubtful the Rays will let Jose Martinez touch the outfield grass.
Kevin Kiermaier has a long history of phenomenal defense and unfortunate injuries. KK has only averaged 113 games per season over the past six years. Should he suffer an injury this season, Randy Arozarena appears to be the likely replacement, as it stands now.
MLB.com currently lists Arozarena as second on the depth chart behind Kevin Kiermaier.
Despite all of the additions already, Tampa Bay could use some proven outfield depth.
Here’s what Puig brought to Ohio in 2019:
- 24 HR
- 84 RBI
- 19 SB
- .785 OPS
- 10.1 BB%
The Rays are not the only team showing interest in Puig.
Puig turned twenty-nine in December and has plenty left in the tank. A move like this would send a signal to the rest of baseball not to overlook the Rays.
They turned heads when they traded left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals for Arozarena and Jose Martinez. Tampa ended last season with the best team ERA in the league and adding a bat like Puig to an already improved offense should definitely give the Tampa Bay better odds at a World Series victory.
Should the Rays pay up for Yasiel Puig? Do they need him?