OF Yasiel Puig
In the whole of free agency, Yasiel Puig probably remains as the top name still available. Puig, 29, entered the offseason inside the Top 25 among many free agency rankings including being listed at 18 by FanGraphs. The corner outfielder has had an interesting career arc to this point and is already entering his eighth year in the big leagues since starting out with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His first two seasons in LA, 2013 and 2014, cast the spotlight directly on the young Cuban after finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in ’13 and then being named an All-Star in ’14. He saw a drop-off in production the following two seasons before his power at the plate started to show in 2017 starting a run of three straight seasons with 20 homers or more. Puig was dealt to the Cleveland Indians last offseason by the Dodgers where he hit .252 in 100 games with a .777 OPS. Then, Cleveland traded him to Cincinnati where his bat came alive in his final 49 games hitting .297 and seeing his OPS jump to .800 for the Reds.
Now he enters the offseason as a free agent looking to reestablish himself as an impact player. For the Rangers, his offensive fit is easy to see as Texas still tries to increase their right-handed hitting production, specifically towards the middle part of the lineup. Defensively though, Puig is not a natural fit having been exclusively a right fielder for three seasons now. The Rangers clearly want Joey Gallo in right field for the foreseeable future meaning either Puig will have to adjust or Texas will. Gallo could go back to center to accommodate Puig or he could move to first base, a position the Rangers have looked to upgrade this offseason. Puig isn’t the most natural fit left in free agency but would make the biggest impact if he were brought in before the start of the season.