Ken Rosenthal tweeted this a little while ago:
Source: #Dodgers placed Puig on trade waivers today.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 28, 2016
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.