Each day, the Astros seem to be connected to a new outfielder. Now, they’re reportedly interested in Yasiel Puig, who hasn’t played in MLB since 2019.
The Houston Astros are interested in retaining George Springer and Michael Brantley. They have expressed interest in free-agent center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. And there is an increasing sense that general manager James Click is casting a wide net, both via trade and free agency, as he searches to remake the teams outfield in 2021 and beyond.
So it is no surprise that the Astros are among the teams to express interest in free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
It is unlikely that Puig, 29, would be anything more than a fourth outfielder. After all, he didn’t play in 2020 and is looking to get back into the game, recently hiring Rachel Luba as his new agent. But the road for Puig to get back to the majors is complicated.
Off the field, Puig has been accused of sexual assault and is being sued by an unnamed woman for his actions at a Lakers game in 2018, TMZ reported, and it is unlikely any team will consider signing Puig until there is clarity on the situation.
On the field, Puig has not played since 2019. He agreed to terms on a deal with the Braves in 2020, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and the signing was voided. But when he has played, he has proven to be one of the most exciting – and also frustrating players – in recent baseball history.
In 2019, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs and 19 stolen bases. The numbers were below his career averages with the Dodgers where he slashed .277/.348/.475 in Los Angeles. But for an Astros team in desperate need of outfield help, these would be welcome numbers from a No. 4 outfielder – provided he is cleared of everything off the field.
The Astros will continue to monitor the outfield options available. They are not just focused on Puig and could pursue a familiar name such as Jake Marisnick. For now, their pursuit of Puig is not surprising and further underscores their offseason focus: addressing the outfield.