Ken Rosenthal tweeted this a little while ago:

The Reds should absolutely put in a waiver claim on Yasiel Puig. It shouldn’t even be a question.

Before I go any further, for those of you who are interested, here’s a quick primer on waivers:

• When a player is on waivers, other teams can submit a claim. If more than one team does, those in the same league as that player’s team get first priority, starting with the club with the worst record on the day of the claim. Then, the priority moves to the other league, starting with the worst record. For example, if a National League team puts a player on waivers, the NL team with the worst record gets the first shot at him, and the last-place American League club would be right behind the top NL club.

• Once a player is claimed, his team faces three options. It can pull the player back and keep him, negotiate a trade with the claiming team or let the player go. In the last scenario, the claiming team takes full responsibility for the player’s remaining salary. If the two sides decide to work out a trade, they have two days to do so.

By my count, there are six teams ahead of the Reds on the waiver priority list: Braves, Twins, Diamondbacks, Rays, Padres, and Angels. One of those teams might make a claim. One of those teams probably will put in a claim on Puig. Atlanta and Anaheim seem most likely.

But let’s say Puig falls to the Reds, and they’ve put in a claim for him. Then Dick Williams and company will have the opportunity to work out a trade for him. And here’s why they should do that:

1. Puig is 25 years old;
2. He was an All-Star, playing at a very high level — .305/.386/.502, 151 OPS+ in his first two seasons (at the ages of 22-23) — less than two years ago;
3. His value as a trade asset will never be lower, i.e., the Reds ostensibly can get him cheaper than at any other time in Puig’s career;
4. These are the types of low-risk, high-reward moves that the Reds absolutely need to be taking as they move into the next phase of the rebuild;
5. If it doesn’t work out, how are the Reds in any worse shape than they currently are?

What do you think? Maybe it doesn’t work out. Perhaps Puig’s off-field issues are going to doom his career forever.

Or maybe — just maybe — the change of scenery is perfect for a mercurial young talent. If so, the Reds would have found their right fielder for the next few years. It’s worth taking the chance, I say.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 79 Comments

  1. I’m not opposed to acquiring him, but I’m also not willing to give up a bunch of value for him either. All depends on what it would take to acquire him, but either way, you put the claim in and find out. If you can’t work out a deal, so be it. But to not put in a claim seems foolish.

    • Let’s get this guy…right now…

    • Without focusing on the 10/5 rights, anyway – in your opinion – the Dodgers and Reds would do Puig for B-Phil? Works for LAD because Utley is a FA this year and works for us because we have Herrera and Peraza. Also, we would be saving money, assuming we do contract for contract straight up.

  2. Yasiel Puig rf
    7 years/$42M (2012-18)

    7 years/$42M (2012-18)
    signed Major League contract with LA Dodgers as a free agent 6/27/12
    $12M signing bonus
    12:$2M, 13:$2M, 14:$2M, 15:$4.5M, 16:$5.5M, 17:$6.5M, 18:$7.5M
    may opt in to arbitration once he earns 3 years of Major League service time

  3. The Reds would put $17.5MM at risk by making the claim. That’s how much they would owe Puig for the 2017 & 2018 seasons under his current contract. That seems like a very reasonable risk, financially. I’m with Doug completely. Due to the extraneous factors beyond the financial aspect (attitude, production fall-off, head case on the field, etc.), I wouldn’t offer up anything significant via a trade to make it happen.

    If the Reds fail to even place a claim, al la Marlon Byrd, WJ should be flogged and summarily dismissed.

    • $17.5-million is a lot of money to the Reds. It represents probably 7%-10% of their payroll over the next 2 seasons. I’m not opposed to them making a claim but I understand if for financial reasons, they fail to do so. It could end up being a steal but Puig is a train-wreck and a half so there is a chance that the Reds’ $$ goes down the toilet.

  4. It makes sense to put in the claim. Maybe they pick him up cheaply. If not, it doesn’t cost anything.

  5. He can make plays in the field ala Billy Hamilton and crushes the ball.

    • if he was making those play and crushing the ball, he wouldn’t be in the minors. keep that guy outta the Reds’ clubhouse.

      • I agree — let’s not risk clubhouse chemistry for a Puig gamble. When he first came out, Puig was an incredible enigma…what fantastic raw athletic ability. Now, he just seems like a big kid playing in the sandbox of his choice on any given day.

        Perhaps a very strong, old school manager could transform him. Don’t see that on the Reds. Therefore, Puig would become a continual distraction who lacks discipline, and thus likely will never reach his full potential. Furthermore, as he gets older I can easily see him getting further discouraged when his raw athletic gifts no longer allow him to compete…that’s already starting to show.

        Finally, I’d argue that we have enough excellent talent in the young prospects and recently promoted players.

  6. It’s a great opportunity to claim a player who’s bound to rebound. Reds organization has a history of straightening out a problem player. He needs to be instructed on rules of life, as he already knows how to play the game.

    • And the Reds have a history with Cuban players going back to the 1920’s with the great pitcher, Dolf Luque. Not that that would mean much with Yasiel Puig.

  7. Makes a lot of sense! Would be a great low risk – potentially high reward transaction.

    Also, on an encouraging note, I think there’s only three teams ahead of us. Reading the snippet you posted above, waiver priority is determined first by league, and then by record. As the example points out, the worst AL club has priority behind the best NL club. So hopefully Atlanta, Arizona, and San Diego don’t like him too much!

    • I think it actually alternates leagues, with the waiving team’s league getting first shot.

      • i think it is all of the NL, then all of the AL…….from an article on

        Priority for revocable trade waiver claims are determined by reverse order of standings in the player’s league, followed by reverse order of standings in the other league. That means all the National League teams have a chance to claim Puig before an American League team could do so.

        • This is how I think it works. It is certainly how I’ve heard it explained in the past, i.e. that a player has to completely clear waivers in his club’s league before the any team in the other league has a shot at him. I believe this is a remaining vestige of the days when unrestricted interleague trading was severely limited, at least during the season.

        • Here is the scoop from MLBTR:

          “For example, if an NL team places a player on revocable waivers, the team with the NL’s worst record will get first priority on claims, followed by every other team in the NL from worst to best, followed by AL teams from worst to best”.

  8. Why would we expect him to be any less of a jerk or any better of a player in Cincinnati? He WAS an All Star at one point… was Jack Armstrong.

    Despite the losing, the Reds have done a nice job of avoiding toxicity. There’s a 50% chance he’ll be good and a 75% chance he’ll be a jerk. The Dodgers have already tried to trade him…they don’t want him….why wouldn’t they just let him go to whomever claims him? The last thing a young team needs is that guy.

    • Cannot agree with this MORE. No thanks on Puig

    • He’s young alot of young people lose there first jobs and even second jobs. Think cris Carter was smart in Philly.or Brett farve in Atlanta partying his way out of league.i can go on with 20 example’s from every sport. He’s still very young and talented

      • Aren’t there hundreds of example of baseball players who started off strong and were simply figured out? He gets worse every year. It’s very possible that he just isn’t very good.

        Worst case (most likely) he’s a head case that produces mediocre results and the Reds are on the hook for his salary for the next 2.2 years. Best case, he’s awesome…and he’ll be a UFA in 2019…so the Reds have him for 2 great years and/or he’s a great trade chip. Is he worth the risk for 2 years?

        The Reds can’t afford to miss. A cancer that takes up 10% of payroll just isn’t something they can afford to risk. Every team in baseball invests millions per year on professional scouting and analytics…..and no one seems to want this guy.

        • No one wanted Josh Hamilton either. It just cost a little more money this time

        • A little more money? Hamilton made the league minimum and had 4 years of team control left. They are 2 entirely different situations. Hamilton had no risk.

        • While I tend to agree with your statement that “it’s very possible that he just isn’t very good,” he’s also had a lot of injury issues the last 2 years. I don’t think he’s THIS bad, but I also don’t think he’ll ever be as good as he was during years 1 and 2.

          He swings at far too many pitches out of the zone, which is chief among his issues, in my opinion.

          With that said, I think, healthy, he’s a 2-3 WAR player. But what are the odds at this point of him remaining healthy? Hard to say.

        • Pretty much what I said above in response to the Cossack. I concur here.

    • We expect him to be less of a jerk because he’s apologized and said that being sent down really humbled him. It sounds little, but admitting your wrong is a huge step.

  9. I am a complete advocate of the idea an organization can never have too much talent in the system, and adding Puig would add another exciting piece to the puzzle.

    However, the Reds are already struggling to find playing time for the prospects they currently have in order to sort out who’s going to be a contributor moving forward. Throw Puig into the mix, and that’s more ABs away from Schebler, Peraza, and possibly Winker

    • Not to mention Mesoraco if catching does not work out.

      • I’m not really sold on the Meso as an OF idea, personally.

        I still think the Reds should 100% make the claim, but if they already can’t figure out how to get the right people ABs, they would have to seriously reevaluate their strategy moving forward with the addition of Puig

  10. Where’s he gonna play you ain’t gonna sit Duvall or Schebler just to give him playing time

  11. Whoever gets the “winning” claim Puig, it will be interesting to see if the Dodgers let him go for nada just to be rid of him and the contract.

  12. You would think that when the Dodgers sent him to the minors it was a clear sign that any team could have had him for a ham sandwich. If the Reds had wanted him, he was there. Let somebody else have the headaches.

  13. I absolutely agree with that logic. What if he comes here and hits 35 homers. You could plug him in with votto possibly a healthy mesaraco. Also with a young peraza and Suarez, Adam duval. if he bombs or is a head case then put him back on waivers. remember Josh Hamilton they rolled the dice and ended up trading him and still have talent from multiple trades feom him. Baseball is a game of collecting talent. When talent turns to production then you’ve got something.

  14. I don’t know. Puig’s upside is attractive but I’d be worried about his sometimes negative behavior and/or attitude would affect our young players negatively

  15. You 100% put in a waiver claim for him. If Dodgers would then trade him for cheap or just let the Reds take him then he is worth the risk. If Dodgers still want too much in a trade then you don’t agree to one in the 2 day window and no-harm-no-foul.
    I would definitely not worry about him taking playing time from Duvall or Schebler. A rebuilding teams first goal should be to add as much talent as possible. Then worry about where and when to play it all.
    Puig obviously has something mental affecting his game. He has the kind of talent and potential that is worth taking a chance on though.

      • Yes, Wily Mo. Took the words out of my mouth.

        • Wily Mo was a good athlete and not a problem player/perosnality. The problem was his contract did not give him enough minor league time to sharpen his skills. The Reds made a smart move to trade him for Arroyo, and Wily Mo floundered in Boston because he was a guy that NEEDED to play everyday.

        • Actually, I was a Wily Mo fan–named a great dog after him, no less. And, no, it’s not a perfect comparison, but there is common ground: Great physical talent largely unrealized. There was a SI poll some years ago on the question of who did the least with the most talent and, unfortunately, Wily Mo won in a landslide.

    • I’m not really sure I understand this comparison.

      Wily mo Pena’s best season occurred in 2004 when he was 22 years old and resulted in a 112 wRC+ and 1.9 fWAR.

      Puig was 22 years old as a rookie in 2013 and posted a 160 wRC+ and 4.1 fWAR.
      He, by all accounts, had a disaster of a season in 2015 dealing with hamstring injuries and had some off-the-field issues but still put up a 112 wRC+ and 1.5 fWAR.

      Puig has shown to be much better than Pena when healthy, and even his “disaster” of a third season still put up numbers on par with Pena’s best.

      Puig is playing as well now in a small sample of AAA games as he ever has. His off-the-field issues may be too much of a concern, I don’t know. But this is the kind of talent you take a chance on.

  16. Reds are #2 in line for waivers and will definitely claim him if the braves do not. They can only trade for other players who have passed through waivers which makes any trade unlikely. They will leave him in AAA and trade him in the offseason.

    • Why would his market value be higher in November than it was in July? The Dodgers were willing to basically give him away at the deadline and no one wanted him. What has changed? What magic formula do the Reds have to move him?

      • if the Dodgers were willing to give him away they would cut him or place him on irrevocable waivers. Every team in MLB would take a chance on him especially with his cheap contract… this idea that no one will take him of the Dodgers hands for free is ridiculous.

    • Players not on the 40 man roster are not subject to waivers before being traded. I’ve not taken the time to check exactly but for the Reds that currently includes pretty much everybody at AA on down aside from Abel De Los Santos and Sal Romano, not to mention Jesse Winker at AAA also who is not on the 40 man.

  17. Place the claim on Puig. It would help elevate any thoughts of getting above .500 next year and possibly contend for a wild card birth.
    Just look at what Puig has done at AAA since he was sent down. That would look nice batting #4. Duvall and Schebler would platoon in LF with Duvall getting a little action at 3B too.
    Watch one of the Angels C’s in the next 3 games. Bandy would be a nice pick up and pair with Barnhart next year.

  18. I think it would a great move of us. Zack Cowart straight up. We have plenty of good infield help.

  19. 17 million for 2 years of a migraine. No Thanks.

  20. Amir Garrett pitched for AAA Louisville on Saturday night. Homer Bailey lasted one inning on Sunday and didn’t look good at all. Homer Bailey’s next scheduled start is this coming Saturday, off day on Thursday.
    What are the chances that Amir Garrett will make his MLB debut this coming Saturday in place of Bailey, at the RLN gathering? 50-50?
    Cody Reed goes tonight for Louisville, he also lines up right could go too if Bailey can’t go Saturday.

    • Because of the off day for the Reds on Thursday, Saturday will be Straily’s normal day to pitch. The AAA Bats have a doubleheader this Thursday and play on thru Labor Day before their season ends. The only off day they’ve had since 18 Sept is a rainout last Friday which is the reason for DH this Thursday. Pensacola is in the AA playoffs; and isn’t likely to be able to spare a pitcher if the Bats sent one to the Reds. So, I don’t see anybody brought up to start for the Reds unless it might be Sampson who has been used about as little at AAA as he was with the Reds (I count 2 appearance/ 4 innings since he went down).

      • I didn’t get that said quite right. Because of the off day Thursday, Disco can pitch on Friday which is Bailey’s “normal” day. If they want to skip Bailey, Saturday will be Straily’s “normal” day after starting tonight (Monday).

  21. I think the reds at this point in time have tremendous CHEMISTRY moving forward. We don’t need his ME FIRST attitude(PUIG) on this team taking valuable at bats for guys with great potential likeshebler ,winker,duvall , and yes even mesaroco and yes the possibility of Senzel (very close). Don’t need the attitude and off field nonsence.. Please do not waste the money. We are stuck with meseroco and baily salaries.

  22. Puig’s Ops is 1.061 in the PCL and we just traded an All-Star for a guy with a .780 ops in the same league…..just saying! They’ll get Simon off the books and Cozart should be gone too plus only 1 more year of BP. Why not take a chance….when you’re willing to pay $50 mil apiece for 2 meaningless no-hitters then its hard to justify passing on a potential middle of the order guy for $8.5/yr

    • Flip side of the coin:

      Scott Schebler’s last 30 days

      .253 16 runs, 6 hrs, 17 rbis. Its not like the guy doesn’t have some talent!

      • Schebler’s return to MLB sort of mirrors what happened when he got set back to AAA. He swooned a while then got hot and stayed that way right on thru until he was recalled. It will be interesting to see if the trend follows into September at MLB.

    • The Reds paid Baily for the #2 starter he was at the time. Not for no hitters…

      • Homer is way overpaid, I thought that when it happened way before the injuries. He’s paid like an ace and an ace he is not.

        • He isn’t paid like an ace. He’s paid like an ace was 5 years ago and you simply haven’t recaliberated your sensors yet. Aces that hit free agency are making $30m per year. The aces that make less than that either 1) haven’t hit FA yet (Jose Fernandez-types); 2) signed contracts that bought out some arbitration/FA years (Madison Bumgarner/Chris Sale-types); or 3) had some type of perceived risk which limited the FA contract they were eligible to receive (Cueto-types).

    • I don’t think the Reds were paying for the 2 no-hitters. Not a big fan of the Bailey contract but it’s not difficult to see what the Reds were thinking.

      • Exactly. No injuries and we’d all be pretty happy with Homer Bailey who would probably be a sub 3.00 ERA guy by now, pitching 200 innings and 200+K’s.

        If same injury occured to Bumgarner or Arrieta or Kershaw, they’d be overpaid too. It’s just bad luck. The deal made sense for an improving, solid #3 starter with Ace upside remaining and yet to enter his prime.

  23. do it!

  24. The Dodgers are a first place team with a very smart GM…an ownership group with virtually unlimited resources and a tremendous farm system. Being a child of the 70’s…I hate them and always will….but, no reasonable person could argue that they’re dumb.

    Why don’t they want Puig? This isn’t a salary dump…this isn’t a re-build. This is a team that believes it can compete for a…and they do not want him now or for the future.

    Does Puig have talent? He’s a very gifted athlete….but, does that always matter in baseball? No. He isn’t in some 2 month slump
    ( Votto in April-May) where there is no reason to believe he won’t come around. He’s progressively become worse each year. I’m reasonably sure the Dodgers could handle
    ” the jerk” aspect if he produced….but he consistently gets worse.

  25. The guy is a knucklehead and that’s universally known! However….if and that’s a BIG IF he ever gets his head on straight and turns it around then what better power hitters paradise can he find then GABP! Dodger Stadium has always been a place where flyballs go to die!

    Look at Adrian Gonzalez’s splits

    Home 5 HRs .734 ops
    Road 11 HRs .908 ops
    GABP produced 19% of his season total in 1 game!

    Puig could be feared in GABP and fear can produce walks and obp which is all the rage!!!

  26. Usually knuckleheads like Puig thrive in strong, well established clubhouses. I don’t think the Reds can provide that type of support.

  27. Nothing wrong with making a claim, doubt we’d get him though. Bringing in young talent never a bad thing.

  28. Absolutely not is a poison the clubhouses we’re not going to be competitive again until at least 18 so why spend the money on 17 when the money could be spent elsewhere.

  29. They shouldn’t claim him because of next year’s Rule 5 draft. They already do not have enough roster spots for the valuable players they have.

  30. I agree. We should be putting claims on every player under 27.

  31. Believe we are at or approaching the end of the 47 hour waiver period. If there isn’t a claim award announced this afternoon, either the Dodgers have pulled Puig back or are talking a deal with the winning claimant. They will have up to another ~48 hours to make a deal with the winning claimant, pull him back, or let him go for the bargain basement waiver fee ($25K??).

  32. yeah duh! get him today!

  33. Seems to me there could be interesting dynamics involved if in fact there are negotiations going on between the Dodgers and a winning claimant team. The amount remaining on the contract is around $15M. The claiming team is on the hook for that amount unless the Dodgers “pull back” Puig. That’s a bit of reverse of how theses situations typically set up with the dumping team looking to minimize their financial commitment.

    Instead, if the Dodgers really were at the end of the road with Puig, they might be willing to let him go for nada. In that case they could be trying to extract some talent return by offering to eat some portion of the $15M knowing the other team is stuck with the entire amount if the Dodgers merely do nothing.

    The claiming team for their part must have been willing to take on the entire $15 or they wouldn’t have made the claim. Presumably they want Puig either for their own team or because they think there is a favorable deal to be made by moving him in the waiver free off season. What they don’t know is whether the Dodgers will pull him back if they don’t ante up.

    To be a bug on the phone line.

  34. Funny that Puig was ‘struggling’….what I seen was his power numbers weren’t there but his .260 BA and .320 OBP still look better than some of the lines I see on our current roster. The power will return.

  35. MLBTR reports Puig claimed (surprise, surprise, surprise [not!])

    Winning claim not known. The dance is on for some org.

  36. No American League club would have waiver priority over the Reds for a National League player. The Braves and maybe the Padres are the only teams that would have priority over the Reds. None of this matters though because the Dodgers are said to be pulling him back from waivers.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


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