Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trade Rumors and Protecting Puig from Puig

As the Dodgers won their 6th straight game tonight, rumors swirl about the potential acquisition of Miami’s Ricky Nolasco.  I find the rumors rather disappointing, as it is my position that Stephen Fife can fill the role of the 5th starter adequately and Nolasco doesn’t bring much beyond the current Dodger right hander in place.  Meanwhile if the cost is Withrow  (who should still be on this club), and Pederson or Chris Reed, Colletti will have emptied the Dodger prospects cupboard for a number 5 starter that they didn’t really need in the first place.

Sometimes the best trades are the ones that aren’t made.   That’s the way I see this potential deal.


Yasiel Puig continues to prove to be the 8th wonder of the baseball world.   His clutch two out hit on and 0-2 count in the 7th inning tonight was amazing.  Reaching down a that outside slider and driving it to left field was simply a super human feat.  This kid is so strong.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  So with that said, I have a few concerns.  

Yasiel Puig's two-run single was the game decider in tonight's action against the Phillies (photo by Alex Gallardo/AP)

Those concerns mainly have to do with Puig’s Pete Reiser-like attack of outfield walls.  I appreciate Puig’s enthusiasm and his willingness to go after balls approaching the wall with a reckless abandon, but someone really needs to make him understand that we need him healthy.  It’s called a “warning track” for a reason.  When you reach it, it doesn’t mean to increase your speed.

At the rate that Puig is going, I’d find it an outright miracle if he concludes the season without serious injury.  Considering that Yasiel in my opinion is of a talent level of a young Mickey Mantle, I’d hate to see him seriously injure himself and have us all talking about “what if” he didn’t hit that wall and tear up his shoulder or “what if” he didn’t break his ankle sliding into a concrete wall.   We say that about Mantle, who lost his amazing speed when he stepped in a hole or sprinkler head (can't remember which one it was) in he ’51 World Series.  Puig needs to protect himself from Puig.

We’ve heard Mattingly say in interviews that the coaching staff doesn’t want to temper his enthusiasm and hustle, but there has to be a comfortable medium in there somewhere.  We want Puig to be that Dodger hitter that we talk about 50 years from now, that phenominal once in a generation player that breaks all the records, wins numerous awards and leads the ball club to several championships.  That is the big picture.  Injuring himself would be beyond tragic.  They need to keep this great player healthy.

One of the first things the Dodgers can do is get rid of that cut out video board in the right field wall and replace it with as much cushiony padding as possible.  Puig has now collided with that thing a few times in this homestand.  Mid-season this change probably isn't doable, but during the odd-season, it has to be done.  Remember when Darryl Strawberry separated his shoulder crashing into the unpadded right field wall in his first season with the Dodgers?  Well, they padded the walls after that.  This ownership group needs to be proactive and make a similar move and remove that video board.  That just might save Puig from himself.

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