The Los Angeles Dodgers demoted star outfielder Yasiel Puig to Triple-A on Tuesday, but the circumstances around the move have led many to speculate that Puig will never wear the Dodgers uniform again.
While Puig’s production has fallen since his first two seasons in Major League Baseball, there is growing speculation that the move is related to problems Puig has caused in the clubhouse. In a story for Bleacher Report this past offseason, Puig was referred to by an anonymous former Dodger as “the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game, ever,” suggesting he is not well-liked among at least some of his teammates.
Apparently, manager Dave Roberts saw this potential problem and invited Puig to dinner during spring training, according to Andy McCullough of the LA Times. At the time, Roberts wanted to instill the message to Puig that the team cared about him and wanted him to do well, but by July, that narrative had changed drastically:
“We’ve been consistent with him as far as our desire for him to be a better person and baseball player,” Roberts said. “There’s been some injuries, and he hasn’t performed the way he’s wanted to. But I think as a coach, we have to concern ourselves with the whole team. As much as I care about him and I want him to be great, I mean, guys have to take ownership and be accountable for themselves, as a grown man.”
Though team officials said that the main reason for Puig getting demoted was subpar performance, McCullough noted that General Manager Farhan Zaidi acknowledged that “Puig’s behaviour was a factor.”
“But Zaidi acknowledged that Puig’s behaviour was a factor. The organisation did not portray Puig as an irreconcilable malcontent, crippling the club with his personality. The issues were smaller and subtler, a series of minor indiscretions that piled up.”
These “problems” haven’t been specified yet, but it seems like fans will get to find out more as time goes on.
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