Must-Click Link: The story of Yasiel Puig’s failed defection

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Yasiel Puig defected from Cuba last year. Earlier, however, he had made a failed attempt. Jeff Passan spoke with the Coast Guard crew which intercepted the boat in which he tried to reach the United States in April 2012 and it’s a great story.

While the Coast Guard declined to release specific information about the interdiction of Puig’s boat, conversations with six men aboard the Vigilant at the time gave Yahoo! Sports an in-depth look into a nearly two-week sliver of Puig’s life. Though this was not his final voyage, it offers the greatest insight yet of his tortuous journey to Dodger Stadium.

“He stood out from the group,” Hoschak said. “The conditions he was in on that boat were terrible. He’s got his stuff in a garbage bag. Not really enough food. You can tell.”

From that to Puig Mania in just over a year.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.

Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.

Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.