Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter on Yasiel Puig: “I wouldn’t give up on him now”

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Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times spoke with Dodgers chairman Mark Walter. The first of many topics of conversation: Yasiel Puig.

Puig has been hampered by injuries this season. And, while there haven’t been any notable controversies involving the Dodgers’ right fielder this year, the release of Molly Knight’s new book on the Dodgers has put a spotlight on Puig, his complicated relationship with his teammates and the fact that, well, he can be annoying.

Some have speculated that the Dodgers would try to trade Puig in an “addition by subtraction” kind of mood. Walter, while saying he would not stand in the way of his baseball operations people should they decide to do that, is not himself ready to give up on Puig:

“I wouldn’t give up on him now . . . I think he’s just going to be a great player,” Walter said.

Walter pointed to a groundout by Puig last week in a home game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“If you watch him, he’s playing hard,” Walter said. “Did you see that squibbler? He ran his butt off. He almost got there too.”

Walter continued, “Puig clearly, clearly has incredible potential and talent. And I think he’s got a big heart and wants to play hard. So I think that will show up.”

The real issue with trading Puig right now is that he’s been hurt and ineffective of late. Until he shows that he’s healthy and can return the form he showed before his hamstring injury earlier this season, the Dodgers would be selling low. Which, in the case of some players may not be an issue — everyone knows he’s talented and will play better — but given Puig’s reputation, anyone willing to give up a lot for him may want to be dang sure that he comes in as an impact player, not a set of damaged goods, however temporarily that may be.

Personally, I think it’s a bad baseball and business move to trade Puig unless you get a massive return. When healthy he’s one of the better hitters in the league. And he’s making peanuts for the production he is capable of providing. This year’s salary is $4.5 million. Over the next three years that only goes up a million a year. For guy with a line of .299/.380/.491 over his first three seasons, that’s a bargain.

Matt Klentak gives Gabe Kapler vote of confidence

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Despite the Phillies’ current seven-game losing streak and 6-16 record since May 30, manager Gabe Kapler isn’t going anywhere. Prior to Monday’s series opener against the Mets, GM Matt Klentak gave Kapler a vote of confidence, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.

Klentak said, “Gabe Kapler is our manager. Our staff is our staff.” He continued, “I’ve been a part of organizations that have made in-season staff changes before. You have to believe that if you’re going to do that that your alternative is better than your status quo. And I believe in our guys. The key to this group succeeding is this group coming together and doing it as a unit. Players, coaches, manager, front office, and believing in each other.”

The Phillies haven’t been performing well for nearly a month now, but the club has also been hobbled by injuries. The injured list currently features Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano, Pat Neshek, Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Haseley, and Seranthony Domínguez. Odúbel Herrera also remains on the restricted list having been arrested for a domestic violence incident. Seeing Kapler canned might be cathartic for frustrated fans, but it won’t help get anyone back from the injured list.