Adrian Gonzalez showed up for the World Series after all

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The other day it was reported that Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, unavailable to the team because of injury and off the postseason roster, was spending the World Series on a European vacation. He had the blessing of his front office and from his teammates so it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it did, understandably, raise some eyebrows.

Gonzalez, however, made his way back to Los Angeles at some point and was on the field before last night’s Game 2. Whether it was always planned this way or whether he changed his plans because of the media attention attracted by his absence is unknown, but there he was in all of his Dodger blue:

Most people don’t really care too much about this as Gonzalez has not been a factor in the Dodgers success all year due to his time on the DL and thus is not a factor in a World Series filled with storylines and stars. Boston sports writers sure cared, though. Here’s sports radio yakker Tony Massarotti after it was reported that Gonzalez was in Europe:

Not that Gonzalez can win with the Boston media contingent. Here’s Spink Award-winning columnist Dan Shaughnessy, offering some incisive analysis early this morning criticizing Gonzalez for returning:

That’s right, folks: Adrian Gonzalez is why the Dodgers lost last night.

All of this is inspired, of course, by the fact that the Red Sox underachieved during his two season stint in Boston. And, I presume, because he didn’t give these guys a lot of great quotes, which is an even greater sin in their eyes. Once a certain brand of Boston media personality decides that you’re worthy of criticism, you’re always worthy of that same criticism, even years later. Unless you’re John Lackey, of course, in which case you get a strange new respect years later, but we’ll leave that go.

In any event, there is some good advice to be found in the example of these guys. Hold on to what you love. Hold on to it tightly, the way that a Boston sportswriter holds on to a five-year-old grudge. Never let go of your passion. Let it fuel you with its hot fire no matter how cold it gets outside.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.