Nor is it terribly difficult to understand. Puig has had flashes of superstardom and still has the potential to be star, but it’s obvious that his development has stalled. Injuries are a part of that but not all of it and he has declined in each of the past three years. He’s hitting .257/.321/.379 with only seven homers on the year and is on pace for his worst season as a big leaguer.
That said, at the moment, a club could still look at Puig and think that there are good days ahead and that a change of scenery would do him good. They could even imagine him, I would assume, breaking out and being a fairly cost effective superstar. He’s still only 25. If he has another season or two like this, however, his value would plummet.
The timing of this could prove to be a gamble. The Dodgers would be selling low on Puig now if they did sell. They’re also in the playoff hunt and that same “squint-and-you-can-see-a-superstar” thing might make more optimistic members of the Dodgers front office think that a hot month or two from Puig in Dodger blue is worth hanging on to him. Regardless of their own internal calculus, it may be better to try to trade him in the winter. Teams are far more able to picture change-of-scenery candidates then and, of course, you’re dealing with 29 other teams on the market, not just teams looking to add a bat at the deadline.
Whatever happens, there are going to be some fascinating and difficult decisions to make about this difficult player in the coming weeks.