The Tampa Bay Rays WILL NOT be signing Yasiel Puig to any type of deal and he will certainly not be receiving an invite to the team’s spring training (which begins in just 16 days as of 1/29/24).
As the calendar was about to flip from 2023 to 2024, rumors and speculation started to emerge that the Rays had signed Puig to a minor league deal. Those rumors at the time were immediately dismissed, only to reemerge a few weeks later.
It’s not happening.
Off the field, Puig has dealt with numerous legal issues including multiple accusations of sexual assault. Puig faces other charges that involve illegal gambling for which he could serve possible prison time; the case against Puig is set to go to trial sometime this year.
But even if that were not the case, there are ample reasons for the Rays not to sign the former star.
Puig, now 33, last played in the Major Leagues in 2019 with the Cleveland Guardians. The controversial slugger was always exceptional in the boxscore as he produced 18 fWAR over seven seasons; however, on the field and in the clubhouse he was also involved in plenty of dustups and always to seemed to be involved in controversy.
That apparent toxicity led to a lack of suitors for Puig and after a deal with the Atlanta Braves was nixed, shortly after it was announced Puig had tested positive for COVID.
Following that, Puig signed in the Mexican League and then moved to the KBO League where he played for the Kiwoom Heroes. Most recently, Puig has been playing for the Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Republic. His success in the D.R. is what fueled the speculation of his return to Major League Baseball.
Those rumors came full circle this weekend where, in his latest column for the Tampa Bay Times, Marc Topkin states the following: “Though there have been several unattributed reports of an agreement, the Rays have no plans to sign former big-leaguer Yasiel Puig.”
Please let this firmly close the lid on any deal between the Rays and Puig. You can’t believe everything you read on social media.