The Los Angeles Dodgers have four solid outfielders, but one of them comes with baggage. Yasiel Puig has shown flashes of brilliance in his short time in MLB, but he is a constant headache for his manager, Don Mattingly. It would do Puig some good to watch a few games from the bench until he stops taking his job for granted.
The Dodgers also have Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier to man the outfield — three players with a lot more big league experience under their belt than Puig. There were worries Kemp might be rusty following a return from a shoulder injury, but he appears to be just fine after hitting two home runs off San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain Sunday. Puig has more potential than all the others, but seems to be out of the lineup for one reason or another all too often.
Puig has already been benched this season for being late to the stadium before a game, and missed Sunday night’s game against the Giants for a thumb injury. He has brought bad press in the offseason, and he’s always dealing with some kind of minor injury, which makes it a lot tougher for Mattingly to know what his lineup is going to be on a day-to-day basis. The Dodgers would be better off letting him ride the pine until he shows them he’s ready to be a reliable, everyday player for them.
Odds are it wouldn’t take long for Puig to get the message. He has three capable outfielders with him and they don’t make Mattingly’s life difficult like Puig does. Seeing them earn more playing time than him might do him a lot of good in the long run.