Ex-Dodger: Puig ‘the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game’
With all of the names flying about at the Winter Meetings and throughout the Hot Stove League, one name that hasn’t gotten much run is Yasiel Puig. And this despite the facts that 1) the Dodgers seem as willing as ever to deal for a pitcher, and 2) Puig’s name came so often in trade discussions at last year’s deadline.
And many of those rumors stemmed from reports of Puig’s Los Angeles teammates’ problems with the Cuban outfielder, particularly in the clubhouse and on the road.
Well, Puig’s name is back in the news, and it’s because another teammate (this one an ex-teammate) sounding off about what a miserable teammate Puig is.
And sounding off big time.
"He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game," a former Dodgers player told Bleacher Report in a story published Thursday. "Ever."
The report comes after a rumor emerged last month that ace Clayton Kershaw requested that Puig be traded. Both teammates A.J. Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez told Bleacher Report that they believe that such an interaction between Kershaw and the Dodgers’ front office never happened.
"If that happened, Clayton’s kept that even from me," Ellis told Bleacher Report. "And Clayton and I tell each other everything. I’ve never heard Clayton say, ‘I’m going to talk to Stan Kasten’ or ‘I’m going to talk to Andrew Friedman.’ Clayton respects the chain of command. And he’s pretty focused. As a guy who’s closer to him than to anybody else on the team, I’ve never heard that."
Gonzalez added that he received a completely different vibe from what the report suggested when he spoke with the team’s executives.
"They talked with Clayton and the consensus was that Clayton does agree that a good and healthy Puig being on the team doing everything right is better for our team than what we would get in trade," the first baseman said. "We all know he can be a superstar. If all of a sudden he does a 180 and becomes the person everybody wants him to be, shows up on time, is a good teammate to everybody, and produces, a year from now, everyone is going to say this is the best trade nobody made."
In the wake of the Arizona Diamondbacks signing former Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, the Bleacher Report article indicated that Greinke originally opted out of his contract to become a free agent at season’s end at least in part because the "some close to the Dodgers said Greinke would not even consider returning to the club unless he received a guarantee that Puig would be dispatched elsewhere."
Ellis strongly disagrees with the notion.
"It couldn’t be further from the truth, Zack wanting to leave because of Yasiel," the catcher said. "One thing Zack really respects and loves is talent. When Yasiel is healthy, Zack loves watching him play. Zack would have loved to stay in L.A. I talked to him about it. But Arizona came in at the 11th hour and offered so much more than the rest of the industry. And Zack really loves [the talent on] that team."
Although Ellis snuffed the speculation that Puig influenced Greinke’s decision in free agency, he confirmed an incident revealed in Molly Knight’s book "Best Team Money Can Buy" in which Greinke threw Puig’s bag off the team bus.
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"Right when we got to the hotel, my phone exploded with text messages," Ellis told Bleacher Report. "I’ve heard a lot of different versions of that story. All of them are pretty consistent."
The same was true of a heated incident between Puig and infielder Justin Turner, in which the two almost came to blows during spring training.
"Neither one of them was correct," Gonzalez said, confirming the incident. "It shouldn’t have escalated to that extent. There was some ill will from a couple of instances before."
Although Puig has created tension in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, his teammates believe that there is still time for him to mend the relationships he’s tattered.
"I think there has to be give and take on both sides," Ellis said. "As his teammates, we have to do a better job of encouraging him and reaching out to him. I know I do. And from Yasiel’s side, he has to continue to grow and to mature and to be accountable and understand that not all criticism is negative.
"I think trust has to be established, and maybe we missed that early."