LA Dodgers Sign Cuban Yasiel Puig & Signal End of McCourt Era Scrimping

June 29, 2012

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year Major League contract reportedly worth $42 million. The speedy, strong-armed 21-year-old is expected to report to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, when he arrives in the United States.

“Scouting and signing talent in Latin America is critical and this signing shows ownership’s commitment to reengage in the region and dedicate ourselves to getting stronger in this area,” said GM Ned Colletti. “We feel that Yasiel can be an outstanding Major League player for the organization.”

Puig, pronounced Ya-see-el Pweeg, played professionally in Cuba for Cienfuegos. In 2010-2011, he hit .330 with 17 homers, 19 doubles, six triples, 47 RBI, and a .430 OBP, all in just 327 at-bats. In the playoffs that year, Puig hit .370 in 46 at-bats.

The six-foot, three-inch, 215-pound Puig has been described by some as a five-tool player. One issue, however, could be Puig's conditioning, as he allegedly gained weight after the Cuban authorities suspended him Cienfuegos for trying to defect.

“Yasiel is a fantastic kid with an infectious personality and we think he has the tools to be a frontline player in the Major Leagues,” said Dodger Assistant General Manager, Scouting Logan White. “He is very physical and athletic with raw power...he can hit it a long way. On top of that, he has a good arm and is an above average runner. We had a great team of people that worked to get this done and I’m proud of our staff.”

More importantly, the signing is an eye-opener for fans disgusted with the previous regime's efforts to run the Dodgers like a penny-pinching small market franchise.

Historically, the Dodgers have always been ahead of the curve in terms of scouting and developing talent from untapped markets. They are the franchise that brought in Jackie Robinson, that signed Hideo Nomo from Japan, and that established the first full-time baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

But under the stingy Frank McCourt, no part of the organization suffered more than the Dodgers farm system, as the Dodgers Latin American presence in particular was noticeably reduced.

The Puig signing, coupled with the recent multi-year deal given to Andre Ethier, demonstrate that the Guggenheim group does in fact have the assets to return the team to its former state of glory.

If  he reaches the Major Leagues, Puig will become the eighth native of Cuba in Dodger history and the first since Danys Baez in 2006. The last Dodger position player born in Cuba was shortstop Zoilo Versalles (1968).

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...