Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers are open to trading Yasiel Puig. Nothing is imminent, of course, but the fact that the club is even weighing the possibility is big news.
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.
ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.
The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.
“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”
He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.
Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.
His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.
He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.
Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.
He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.