Report: Atlanta Braves are signing Yasiel Puig

Braves are signing Yasiel Puig
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The Atlanta Braves are signing Yasiel Puig. That’s the report from Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The terms of the deal, which is presumably for one year, are not yet known.

Puig hit .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds last year before being traded to the Indians at the deadline. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). Definitely a down year overall, and a far cry from the sort of superstar performance he showcased when he first broke into the league, but he’s just 29 and still profiles as an above average big league outfielder, on defense and at the plate.

Puig was most recently rumored to be the target of the Baltimore Orioles, but the Braves, who are favored by many to repeat as NL East champs, certainly give him a better opportunity to showcase his talents. The Marlins, White Sox, Rockies, and Marlins were other rumored suitors over the long offseason.

The Braves, who have traditionally not been the sort of organization to embrace free spirits and colorful personalities like Puig’s in recent years, certainly have a need for him. Longtime right fielder Nick Markakis recently opted out due to COVID-19 concerns and first baseman Freddie Freeman, himself recovering from COVID-19, may not be ready to begin the season on the active roster. A shot to replace the former in the outfield and make up at least some of the offense that will be lost by the absence of the latter, is worth taking for Atlanta. Besides, if Ronald Acuña Jr.’s bat flips and showmanship have not caused Braves fans to retire to their fainting couches yet, a year of Puig shouldn’t do it either.

But even if Atlanta fans are wary of a guy the have taken a great joy in booing in the past, well, tough stuff. The Braves are signing Yasiel Puig.

Kinsler back with Rangers as special assistant to GM Young

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Young, his teammate in the organization’s minor league system nearly two decades ago.

Young said that Kinsler, who was part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, will be heavily involved in player development and providing mentorship to both players and staff.

Kinsler, a four-time All-Star, was part of a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, a year before his retirement. Kinsler played 14 seasons in the major leagues and spent the last three years in the front office of the San Diego Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations and player development. The 40-year-old has been living in the Dallas area, as he did throughout his playing career.

Kinsler played for the U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and Israel in last summer’s Olympics, and he will manage Israel in next month’s WBC.

Young and Kinsler were teammates for several weeks at Double-A Frisco in the summer of 2004, the same year the pitcher made his big league debut. They were in big league spring training together in 2005, then Young was traded after that season.

A 17th-round draft pick by Texas in 2003, Kinsler played 1,066 games for the Rangers from 2006-13, hitting .273 with 156 homers, 539 RBIs and 172 stolen bases. He hit .311 with a .422 on-base percentage in 34 postseason games. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last summer.

Kinsler hit .269 with 257 homers, 909 RBIs and 243 stolen bases in 1,888 career games overall with Texas, Detroit (2014-17), the Los Angeles Angels (2018), Boston (2018), and San Diego (2019). He is one of only two MLB second baseman with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons, and had the only six-hit cycle in a nine-inning game since 1900 on April 15, 2009.