Report: Dodgers sign Cuban outfielder Puig in $40 million deal


The Dodgers have gone from spendthrifts to spendswifts.  From Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:

According to an industry source, the Dodgers have agreed to a multiyear deal worth more than $40 million with 21-year-old international prospect Yasiel Puig, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound outfielder from Cuba.

The Dodgers haven’t commented on or confirmed the signing.

Puig (pronounced Pweeg) was declared a free agent Wednesday, not long after establishing temporary residency in Mexico, and was eventually cleared by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In order to avoid being subject to new CBA guidelines that will limit spending on international prospects to $2.9 million per team without penalty, Puig must sign the record-setting deal, have the contract approved by Major League Baseball and pass a physical before Monday.

The Cubs and White Sox also expressed interest in Puig.

A top prospect in the island’s premier league, the Cuban National Series (Serie Nacional), Puig hit .276 with five home runs during his first campaign with Cienfuegos in 2008-09 and had a breakout year the next season, hitting .330 with 17 home runs and 78 RBIs. He did not play for Cienfuegos during the 2011-12 seasons because he was being disciplined for attempting to defect. …

Here’s more on Puig from J.P Breen of Fangraphs:

… Puig possesses raw power — and actually showed game-power back in the 2010-2011 season with 17 home runs — but Ben Badler of Baseball America recently noted that the most recent scouting reports on the young outfielder have been extremely underwhelming. …

Now, statistics from the Cuban Serie Nacional should obviously be taken with a grain of salt. The level of competition is perhaps not even comparable to what Puig would potentially see in Triple-A, but legitimate similarities exist between the numbers Yoenis Cespedes compiled in 2010-2011 and what Puig racked up in the same year.

Player 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG BB SO
Yasiel Puig 19 6 17 .330 .430 .581 49 39
Yoenis Cespedes 17 1 33 .333 .424 .667 49 40

The obvious difference is the significantly higher home run total from Cespedes. It’s that level of power that has allowed Cespedes to transition directly to the major leagues and post a .222 ISO as a 26-year-old without any experience in the United States.

The remainder of the numbers — the on-base percentage, strikeout-to-walk ratio, etc. — are comparable. Even the doubles are comparable. Puig reportedly has above-average speed and was once considered the “fastest player in Cuban baseball” before defecting, so it’s not overly surprising that Puig would collect more triples than Cespedes.

The issue is that no one can ever confidently project how a Cuban baseball player will transition to professional baseball in the states. The statistics have little correlation due to the level of competition, and the players have to adjust to more than just the players in the United States. They also have to transition to the lifestyle, the culture, and the language. That can be extremely overwhelming for anyone, much less a 21-year-old with ambition and plenty of cash, thanks to a hefty signing bonus. …

And from Ben Badler of Baseball America:

… Reports on Puig, 21, have been modest, and other than a few light workouts this weekend, teams are working off limited information. He was suspended this past season in Cuba—some sources believe it was due to his attempts to leave the country, though some teams have conflicting information—so scouts haven’t been able to see Puig in game condition since June 2011 for the Cuban national B team at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam. The Rangers are the only team that Baseball America’s sources have linked to Puig.

“How can we evaluate someone like that?” asked one Latin American director.

 

 

  • Anonymous

    kasten throwing money around again. $40 mil. on Puig and $85 mil. on Ethier so far. Would that $125 mil. have bought us an elite player? I think so. Instead, we have a moody and old +2.5 win RF and a guy whom scouts apparently describe as “extremely underwhelming.”

    • Anonymous

      You’re erroneously assuming that the constraints of the McCourt days are still in place.  The simple fact is, there aren’t any elite players to be had for $125 million right now.  If and when there are, they can still spend another $125 million.  And another and another.
      .
      Also, your never-ending criticism of Ethier has become a Rule 8 violation.  Are you going to post 50 negative comments about Puig now, too?

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Yean the Ethier contract was almost a requirement, frankly, and most pundits and baseball writers deemed it a pretty fair deal for both sides. Wait til you see what Hamilton gets, and as much as I drool over that guy’s talents, off the field he’s more of a risk than Ethier. And after that, who, exactly is at their level to sign?

        The previous ownership missed out (just missed out, we’re told, but who knows) on Prince Fielder this past off season. Who are the free agents we should be throwing money at instead.
        I for one love the international signing, it’s something we haven’t seen the Dodgers do in a long while and they once made their name on such things. Time to really boost the system’s position players so they don’t *have* to spend too much money on aging free agent risks.

        • Anonymous

          Let’s put this one thing straight. This is not an “international signing.” This is a FA signing. Signing Felix Hernandez or Adrian Beltre to $50,000 minor league deal is an international signing. That’s not the same as giving a 21 year old who has not played baseball in a year more money than we gave to Andruw Jones.

          • foul tip

             1)  The guy is Cuban.  Isn’t it splitting hairs to say that he’s not an international signing because he managed to qualify as a FA via Mexico?

            2)   Do we know for sure hasn’t played in a year (or more)?    He was not allowed to play in Cuba’s premier league, apparently for two years, because of attempts to defect.  Does that mean he didn’t play at a lower level?  If he did, his skills may not have taken too big a hit–but also have not been honed like they would be by higher-level competition.

          • Anonymous

            What I mean is we are not getting the benefit of depressed, team-controlled salaries. That imo makes paying for Cubans a thousand times worse of an investment than the typical international signing.

      • Anonymous

        Do you really think the Dodgers now have infinite money? I think we can agree on this: neither of us know what the books look like. That said, I’m fairly certain that I am right to think the Dodgers don’t have infinite money. So let’s assume that we simply have more money than before–except not that much more, since Kemp and Kershaw are no longer playing on the cheap. Would you rather have Kershaw, Hamels, and Greinke, or Kershaw and Ethier and some Cuban guy?

        Let’s cut the nonsense about Rule 8 violation. You could just as easily say people should stop talking about the Dodgers because it violates the Rule 8. Do you think you can talk about present and future acquisitions, roster-building, and FA without mentioning contracts that put constraints on those actions?

        • Anonymous

          >> Let’s cut the nonsense about Rule 8 violation.
          .
          Yes, please, let’s cut the nonsense.  All YOU need to do is stop posting the same thing over and over and over and over again.  How many times have you criticized Ethier?  How many times have you accused him of being “moody”?  Thirty?  Forty?  Fifty?  Enough is enough.

          • Anonymous

            How? We have $125 mil. tied up that could’ve gone toward FA signings. Explain how having $125 mil. less won’t change anything, barring, of course, the possibility of infinite money.

          • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

            It is possible that somewhere between $125 million and infinity, a number might exist.

          • Anonymous

            And where do you think that number lies? I’d say it’s closer to the point where $125 mil. makes a difference than where $125 mil. doesn’t make any difference.

          • Casey Barker

            That is a certainty, Jon.

        • peter drysdale

           Unless Hamels and Greinke can hit, that won’t help us too much

          • Anonymous

            If we get Hamels and Greinke, we can trade away pitching for bats. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

            who?

    • Anonymous

      Can I fill that glass for you?

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Finally, some good news for the Dodgers after a crummy month.
    Whoomp, ahi nama!Kudos to new ownership for doing what they said they would do, boost international signings. Starting off with a bang.

  • Anonymous

    In the previous topic, I responded to the mention of Zach Lee’s promotion to AA after a relatively short two years (and brought up Chris Reed’s one-year promotion).
    .
    Lee started in his AA debut last night for the Lookouts, and did well in a game that went ten innings.  His line: 6 IP 1 R 5 H 3 BB 7 K.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      So much news in between Dodger runs. 

      • Anonymous

        Frankly, I’d rather have less news and more runs.  :) 

  • Anonymous

    I love this signing. Maybe we’ve hooked our own Trout. One can dream.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not trying to be a “Know it all” or anything…. This is just my humble opinion….
    …..
    I took one look at Billy Ashley’s swing in a AAA All Star Game and had instant doubts as to how successful he’d be at the MLB Level….  We all know how that ended.
    ……
    This young man, Puig….
    1.  His swing is not balanced…..
    2.  On most of that footage, he’s swinging off his front foot…
    3.  He’s got a “one-handed” swing….
    …….
    MLB pitchers will eat him alive.
    I realize it’s a small sampling of video… but $40 million? No. No.
    IMHO.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

      I see what you’re saying, but Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron did pretty well hitting off their from foot :)

    • Anonymous

      could you, at least, realize that adding IMHO to your posts does not make them any more convincing

    • Jim Garrison

      ………. are you a qualified scout?  If not…..your opinion is worth nada.  Obviously the Dodger Brass feel he has the kind of talent worth the risk. In today’s competitive market you have to pay up, even for the rawest of talent  Sure they may need to refine or further develope him. Such a big investment would require Kasten’s approval and i’m leaning towards the “possibility” that he knows what he s doing. 

  • Anonymous

    At best, a talented but raw prospect.  What I like is that there is now money within the franchise to take chances like this.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Another update via MLBTR: Puig will obtain a seven-year, $42MM deal, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports. The Dodgers don’t appear to have been the high bidder, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. They never saw Puig play in a game, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets.

    spread out over 7 years is $6 mil a year, which isn’t bad for one of the top international players. He’s supposedly 1-2 years away from being major league ready.   As for worries about him, yes, everyone’s entitled to think him raw, or wonder if he’ll make it. We can wonder that about anyone we sign as a FA (will he pan out? Will he get injured) or draft (will he fix that hitch in his delivery? etc etc) but sometimes you have to take risks.  My gosh, the Dodgers do nothing but sit on their hands for several years and are rightly ripped by fans, now they are actually making moves, taking chances and spending money and there’s still some consternation about it. 

    My own take is: I like what I see of him so far, he’s also super fast and above average defensively, in addition to his power potential, in a system starved for more talented outfielders this is a chance you take. I’ll trust Dodger scouts over me or you.

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Yasiel Puig is considered a 5-tool player. #dodgers winning bid of $42M for 7 yrs apparently wasnt even his highest offer.
      — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS)  

      • Anonymous

        Can he play centerfield?

        • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

          Yep. Kevin Goldstein said he already “plays a decent CF” and Dustin Nosler (Feelin’ Kinda Blue blog) adds: “The fact that he has center field experience already gives him a leg up defensively. He also has better speed than Soler. ”

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

     Longtime Lakers TV producer Susan Stratton earns Governors Award from TV Academy
    bit.ly/M8ZNGp

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

      “Susan, let’s keep it right here…in a game like this our fine sponsor Atlantic Richfield says, ‘Chick, the game’s more important’”

  • Anonymous

    Here’s Loney’s daily mention: The Dodgers will get rid of him this year, trade, DFA, or non-tender, and I’m good with that, but I want to go on record to say I THINK somewhere down the road, he will learn to hit homeruns. Too late for us but I just feel he will wake up some morning and say, “Duh, is that how it’s done”? and be a nice player for someone for awhile. 

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Yeah I’ve always had that feeling with him, too, that he’ll succeed more somewhere else (would help him to play outside the NL West in general). But I’ve been saying that about him for a couple of years now… expected him to develop more power in LA, not lose all power…  Sigh.

  • Anonymous

    Jim Bowden valued Ethier as a 4 yr / 45 mil guy in his Feb, 2012 baseball outlook in ESPN magazine.
    Also thought Josh Hamilton was a 3 yr/ 66 mil guy. Whether the team has it or not, they spent way too much for a 31 yr old Ethier who can’t run, throw or hit for power – and who has been a whiner for the better part of two seasons! And did I mention his durability issues!?!

    • Anonymous

      You could have given 300 million to Pujols

  • Anonymous

    The Pirates are already up 5-0 on the Phillies in the 1st inning. 

    I don’t consider watching the Phillies hit bottom this year to be described in any fancy German word. I just call it “about time.”

    • Anonymous

      You mean schadenfreude?

  • Anonymous

    I can’t think of a good reason the Dodgers haven’t announced they’re calling up Sands or Van Slyke or whomever… Dare we hope there is a trade in the works?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Callups like that are usually announced in the afternoon, closer to game time.  Very rarely in the morning.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT