As the Los Angeles Dodgers stumble out of the spring gate vs. the reigning MLB champs, potential franchise player prospect Yasiel Puig and his $42 million contract is too young and too good to be gathering dust in the minors.
Having gone 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position in the season opening three-game series, the April deer-in-the-headlight stare of this tentative ball club could use some tunnel vision to shake up outfield depth. Puig is a raw but robust talent waiting to be unleashed at Dodger Stadium, having hit at a .526 clip in spring training; and lest we forget from WBC, his Cuban homeland is a world-class baseball power.
Springtime baseball is supposed to be a fresh start full of promise, but this L.A. team is playing tight while the loose 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants have seemingly debuted in mid-season form.
Normally, impromptu trade pieces are called upon as roster filler, but these former Boston Red Sox are expected to perform to help lead the team, and not just contribute as platoon starters or utility subs. Despite the change in scenery, that kind of pressure is unbecoming of these rag-tag castoffs who already succumbed to it in the media circus back east.
Back when catchers were cheerleaders of competitive baseball at Chavez Ravine, Paul LoDuca spent five years in the minors before being brought up, as did Paul Konerko. Both blossomed into stars who were undervalued for their struggles and traded for their services.
What will become of the Cuban from Cienfuegos if he is left to stew too long in Double-A Chattanooga? And if they option him back and forth, will he burn himself out, suffer injury or lose confidence?
After a day off, the Dodgers will fortunately face the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, who would have made a batting practice grade foe for Puig to debut against.
All bets are off if Yasiel gets the call too late vs. the wrong competition, but if this band of blue brothers can’t unite against a perpetual NL pushover, it’s time to re-scout the minors for a Cuban shot of rookie youth serum.