Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome

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Unless and until Yasiel Puig is ever talked and written about as a normal human being instead of some scary monster which portends dread and personifies all of our darkest fears, we’re gonna start handing out awards. With apologies to Charles Krauthammer, who coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome, our awards will commemorate Great Moments in Yasiel Puig Derangement Syndrome.

The definition of Puig Derangement Syndrome:  “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the play, the acts —nay—the very existence of Yasiel Puig.” Statements of criticism of Yasiel Puig which appear to be of an emotional origin rather than based in fact or logic.

While some may say this should be called the Plaschke Award for Los Angeles Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke’s perfection of the form, in reality, CBS’ Scott Miller is the gold standard here. That was All-Star work, while Plaschke’s Puig Derangement is more of the lunch bucket variety. He puts in the time and will even be sure to lash out at Puig even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. You gotta respect that kind of dedication.

Today is a great example, as his Puig Derangement operates on two different fronts in one single column. First, he uses his game story to note Puig’s shortcomings in last night’s game, despite the fact that Puig did nothing of consequence, good or bad, that even came remotely close to affecting the outcome of the game:

One of the few familiar sights at Petco was the play of Yasiel Puig, who encapsulated his 2013 struggles in the first inning alone, striking out wildly on three pitches and then overthrowing the cutoff man from right field.

Carl Crawford struck out three times and Andre Ethier twice, but I guess those weren’t as bad as Puig’s one strikeout. And that throw that missed the cutoff man arguably could have gotten the runner heading to third had Hanley Ramirez not intercepted it, but we’ll let that go. We have a narrative to pound. Perhaps as many as a thousand times!

That alone would not have gotten Plaschke notice for his Puig Derangement Syndrome, however. For that we have to keep reading:

In more Puig news — can there ever be enough? — there has been clarification on a report last week that Mattingly called a team meeting about Puig. Actually, it was Puig who summoned several players hanging around the clubhouse and asked them if anybody had a problem with the way he played.

One veteran spoke up. Then another. Both had the same problem, that Puig was playing too fast and loose with their championship hopes.

There is no sign yet that he has listened, but at least on this night, the losing story revolved around the older guys.

This is Plaschke backing off his column of last week in which he talked about how “Don Mattingly held a meeting” in which Puig was lectured by his manager and team veterans about his recklessness. As we noted yesterday, however, the real story was that Puig himself called that meeting in order to ask his teammates how he could get better. Now that the meeting tends to put Puig in a better light, however, it’s no longer a meeting to Plaschke. It’s an informal thing in which Puig basically shouted at veterans “asking them if they had a problem” with him, which is clearly designed to make Puig look belligerent and confrontational. Guys like Puig don’t have meetings, you see. They summon people and put them uncomfortably on the spot. And, of course, it is assumed that he didn’t listen to them.

Excellent work, Bill. Keep this up and we may just name Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome the “Bill Plaschke Awards” after all!

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.