Dodgers chairman says he isn’t ready to give up on Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig's first-half production was below his usual standards.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig has been a lightning rod for controversy during much of his tenure with the organization, but at least one high-ranking team official still believes in him.

Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter told the Los Angeles Times that he "wouldn’t give up on (Puig) now" and that he thinks "he’s just going to be a great player."

Walter’s defense of Puig comes on the heels of some potentially damaging book excerpts that chronicled Puig’s lack of popularity in the clubhouse. And while Walter clearly wants Puig to remain a Dodger, he told the Los Angeles Times that he wouldn’t stand in the way if front-office officials decide to try to trade the 24-year-old slugger.

In the past, criticism of Puig’s base-running gaffes, perceived lack of hustle and chemistry issues often were muted by his production, but that hasn’t been the case this season.

Puig, an All-Star in 2014, has been limited to just 43 games this season because of a hamstring injury. He is hitting just .261/.343/.429 with four homers and 14 RBI. In his first two seasons with the Dodgers, Puig hit .305/.386/.502 and averaged 17 homers and 55 RBI.