5. Yasiel Puig
Oh, how Reds Country would love this! Might the Reds front office really entertain the idea of a reunion with Yasiel Puig? Could the Reds really pull one over on the entire league and bring the Wild Horse back to Cincinnati? There is a chance, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. While Puig may have enjoyed his time in the Queen City, he’ll command a large salary.
How much will Yasiel Puig get on the open market? With the trade to Cleveland, there’s no qualifying offer or draft pick tied to signing the 28-year-old. Puig finished the 2019 season slashing .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs. Puig’s OPS+ of 100 puts him squarely in the middle of the pack.
I ask this question knowing that it’ll ruffle the feathers of a few Reds fans, but is Yasiel Puig more style than substance? Puig put up just a 1.3 WAR last season after a 2.7 WAR in 2018 and 3.8 WAR in 2017. To be honest, it appears that Puig’s production is going in the wrong direction. His power numbers were down this season despite playing 50 games at Great American Ball Park.
The same issue with Avisaíl García is true of Yasiel Puig – is he a better option than Aristides Aquino in right field? Unfortunately, Aquino’s sample size is too small to answer that question. I’m also curious if Puig would want to return to Cincinnati after being traded and Turner Ward being replaced as the Reds hitting coach.
I would not be upset to see Puig back in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, but it’d have to be at the right price. I’d expect Puig to sign a contract similar to what we saw A.J. Pollock or Michael Brantley ink last offseason. That’d put Puig’s 2020 salary between $12M-$16M per season. We’ll see how the outfield shakes out, but seeing Puig back in Cincinnati would definitely energize the fan base.