Another day, another in-depth Yasiel Puig article

33 Comments

You have to figure Scott Eden of ESPN was a bit cheesed off that L.A. Magazine beat him to the punch on a competing in-depth article about Yasiel Puig’s journey to the United States. But even if he wasn’t first, Eden’s is still excellently-reported and well-researched.

Many of the same beats: getting out of Cuba is really hard, and it creates some perverse incentives and awful choices for people. Puig almost certainly ratted out other would-be defectors, either because he felt he had to or felt it would draw attention away from himself. There are lawsuits about that now, though it’s an open question whether U.S. courts are the best place for such things.

More broadly, the entire process inevitably causes someone in Puig’s shoes to be wary of anyone he doesn’t know, even to this day. And no matter what led up to his defection, his flight itself was harrowing and its repercussions continue to this day. He was shaken down by people who did not have his best interests in mind before, during and after he defected, and even if he’s far better off now for having endured it all, it’s no less troubling what he had to go through.

I still have the same takeaways I had after the L.A. Mag piece earlier this week. I’ve said most of them enough already so I won’t annoy you with them once again. But Ben Badler of Baseball America — retweeting something he first said last summer — still makes a fantastic point:

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
5 Comments

Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.