Chicago Cubs Rumors: Should the team sign Yasiel Puig?

Yasiel Puig, Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Yasiel Puig, Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs currently sit in first place in the NL Central and look in a position to be buyers at the trade deadline once again. There is one man that makes sense.

The Chicago Cubs know about him. Yasiel Puig is currently still a free agent. He split time in 2019 with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. He then signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Braves before he tested positive for COVID-19, and the deal fell through.

Now, heading down the final stretch of a 60-game sprint season, Puig is still looking for a team, and the Cubs are a perfect suitor.

Over his career, Puig does a decent job against left-handed pitching, with a .343 OPB and a .762 OPS against lefty hurlers. A team can never have too many left-handed mashers.

Puig has 132 career home runs, including three straight 20+ home run seasons, and his power is just fully coming through the past couple of seasons. The Cubs are a lineup of players that get on base and hit for power. Puig does both.

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Another thing that comes with Puig’s game is an unbelievable throwing arm from the outfield. Stationed in right, he has made some throws that would make Willie Mays blush.

Leading off an inning, Puig is hitting .307/.380/.527; could he be an answer for the leadoff struggles which have gone on since Dexter Fowler left? Puig has led off 46 times in his career, and as a pure “leadoff hitter” in the order, he is slashing .279/.361/.486 with eight home runs. A Cubs’ lineup that looks like Puig, followed by Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber, makes the lineup so much more dangerous and not as top-heavy.

Last year, it was Nick Castellanos who came over at the deadline and gave the offense a much-needed spark until they faltered at the end. Puig could be in the same mold. Puig only strikes about 20 percent of the time, which is about average, so he puts the ball in play, which is something they have struggled with, striking out 28.2 percent of the time. According to Fangraphs, a strikeout percentage of 27.5 percent is considered awful. The Cubs are terrible at striking out, but are also above average at drawing walks, at 12 percent.

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The Cubs see a ton of pitches, and Puig is no different. He sees 3.69 P/PA, which will do just fine as a leadoff man. He would stretch the lineup out so much more, and they should take the chance.