The Los Angeles Dodgers have optioned right fielder Yasiel Puig to the minor leagues. His roster spot will go to Josh Reddick, who landed in L.A. on Monday in a deal with the Oakland Athletics.
The move, which was widely reported on Monday, passed with little drama. Reports, which were later refuted and redacted, suggested the 25-year-old outfielder stormed out of the clubhouse upon hearing the news. In reality, he dealt with the demotion quietly and is expected to report to AAA Oklahoma City later this week. While the false information riled up a storm of criticism on social media towards Puig, he didn't seem especially bothered by Ken Rosenthal's flawed report.
@ken_rosenthal don't worry bro, we all make mistakes #puigyourfriend #seeyousoon— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) August 2, 2016
Puig's breakout rookie season in 2013 made him a fantasy baseball lifesaver and a promising new star on the West Coast. He earned a call-up from AA ball on June 3 and proceeded to bat .319 while blasting 19 home runs and posting a nearly five-win improvement over replacement players in just 104 games. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting that fall and 15th in the MVP vote.
However, he hasn't been able to reclaim his spot among baseball's elite in the years that followed. He was an All-Star in 2014 when he helped carry the Dodgers to the playoffs, but his production didn't quite measure up to his beastly rookie year. Those numbers dropped precipitously in 2015 as he battled hamstring injuries; Puig batted just .255 on the season and only had six more hits (72) than strikeouts (66). He's been similarly ineffective in 2016.
Here's a look at just how far his offensive presence has declined since breaking onto the scene in 2013.
Puig and the Dodgers will hope an extended stay in the Midwest will be the cure for their talented outfielder's multi-year slump. In the meantime, they'll turn to Josh Reddick -- a player whose OPS is 110 points higher than the player he's replacing -- as they chase after an NL West crown.