Cincinnati Reds: Yasiel Puig has finally become exciting to watch

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 20: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into third base for a triple in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 20, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 20: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into third base for a triple in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 20, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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After being traded to the Cincinnati Reds, Yasiel Puig got off to a slow start this season. However, of late, he’s become incredibly exciting to watch.

We’ve been waiting since December 21st, but it appears that the long-awaited excitement that Yasiel Puig brings to the game of baseball has finally arrived. The Cincinnati Reds’ mercurial right fielder has found his swing and there’s not a more entertaining player to watch night in and night out.

When the Reds made the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers back before Christmas to acquire Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer, I think most fans were hesitantly excited about the new additions. Getting rid of Homer Bailey was added bonus, but being able to add a power-bat like Puig had Reds’ fans dreaming of 40-plus homers and bat flips galore.

Alas, we’d not seen Puig takeoff as most fans had hoped. In fact, up until recently, it looked as though Kyle Farmer might’ve been the best piece of the trade. With Puig struggling at the plate, Wood struggling to get on the field, and Kemp off to greener pastures, even the departure of Bailey had some fans wondering if the trade was even worth it.

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But lately, Yasiel Puig has shown a resurgence and with his increased productivity comes an increase in his personality. Puig is an emotional player. If he’s not happy with his performance you’re going to know it just by the way he conducts himself on the field.

Of late, fans have seen Puig slumped over in the batter’s box following a swing and miss. We’ve seen Puig casually pick up a ground ball into right field and essentially dare the opposing team to try and pick up an additional base. Every fan knows about the way he licks his bat, but even last night, while rounding second base heading for third, Puig stuck out his tongue before sliding safely in with a triple.

If nothing else, the guy is entertaining. However, of late, he’s also been producing and I think that has a lot to do with the excessive, yet subtle, antics we’ve seen. Puig is currently slashing .234/.277/.438, but over the last 7 games, he’s putting up much better numbers. In those games, Puig is 11-for-26 (.423) with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs. His OPS during that stretch is 1.387.

It seems like the Cincinnati Reds are having fun. Of course winning five straight games can turn any major league ball player’s frown upside down, but it sounds as if the clubhouse is starting to gel and players are gaining confidence. Here’s what Tanner Roark had to say after the game via FoxSports Ohio:

"“We’re starting to roll. You’re seeing a lot of smiles here in the clubhouse, a lot of laughter, and that’s what winning does. (We need to) keep this going and make it contagious even more and just keep having fun.”"

Having fun is certainly what you think of when you think about Yasiel Puig. While he’s still not on pace this season to reach the type of numbers that we typically expect to see from the former Dodgers’ slugger, Puig’s recent surge seems to have lit a fire under the entire squad.

With Puig slated to be a free agent following this season, there’s some speculation that the Cincinnati Reds may look to trade him. I highly doubt that Puig will be on the trade block, though the Reds shouldn’t just hang up the phone on any possible trade.

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But with the attitude Puig has brought to the clubhouse, combined with the enthusiasm he’s injected into the city, it’s hard to see the Reds moving him at the deadline. This entire team is starting to click and the results are showing up in the box score.