Puig Would Rub Any Manager the Wrong Way, Not Just Francona
Yasiel Puig, licker of bats, and dyer of mohawks, apparently did not make the best impression on the Cleveland Indians coaching staff.
According to Tony Mazur of WAKR, Indians Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Bob DiBiasio made the team’s affairs with Puig public at a gathering on Wednesday.
DiBiasio reportedly also said the Indians would be interested in Puig on a one-year deal, which is considered the likely scenario anyway.
If you take DiBiasio’s comment for face value, without any real context, it is not unbelievable that a manager like Terry Francona would be put off by the already-documented transgressions of Puig. Keep in mind, the lovable 30-year employee of the team, “Bobby D,” has long spun brilliant, detailed stories about the glory days of the Tribe, but he is not involved in baseball operations.
Even knowing what we know about Francona, the comment makes sense. The two-time American League Manager of the Year appreciates accountability and consistency, perhaps two of Puig’s weakest attributes.
Puig’s unique behavior has long been a topic around baseball, and his most problematic issues being those that would drive any manager crazy. Tardiness. Complacency. The outfielder was not even available immediately after being traded to the Indians due to a suspension he picked up while jumping into a fight after he had already been dealt.
Francona is known for his ability to manage personalities and keep things cohesive, but if he felt so strongly about not signing a player based on character, would that not say something in itself?
Such a stance would not be far off from what we already know throughout the league. Nobody wants to give Puig a multi-year deal, which is why he is still on the market. Part of that, as quoted in the tweet from Mazur, could be because of the character concerns. The player once went on record saying "The last couple years, I didn't work hard because I still have a contract to go. Now I think I'll work hard more than any year in my life."
If anything, that means Puig should be playing on one-year pacts for the rest of his career.
Equally, no team wants to commit to the 29-year-old because he has not returned consistent value, especially not to the tune of his multi-year, $15 million-per-year request. Puig has posted a 2.0 WAR season just once since 2014.
DiBiasio’s reported comment about the league’s reaction to Puig is not off-base, and rather in line with what the market seems to indicate about the outfielder. Whether the team has avoided Puig based on his personality could be an informed statement or not, but the fact remains that he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal regardless.
His unwillingness to do that is why no team has signed him.