The Fix Should Not Be Defective...Yet
Sal Masakala aside, Los Angeles is once again making the sports world take notice.
There is a buzz in the area, currently, and it's not the Holmes-Cruise split or the exhaust-sniffing from the X-Games. When Los Angeles woke up this morning, which is typically noonish, one headline caught the attention of the masses, athletically knowledged or not, and has spread across this city like male masseuse flyers proclaiming their "technique of excellence" to John Travolta. The Dodgers have taken a step towards the "new management ideals" and signed Cuban-no-more Yasiel Puig to the largest contract of its' kind (Cuban defective), ever. The 42 million clams spread over 7 years is defiant investment for the future of the club and shows what a talent this 21-year old speedster/slugger/fielder must be. Or does it?
Put your towel back on, Johnny, this story has only just begun.
The small-print of this deal reads more indecisive and silver-lined than a weight loss infomercial. Like the fat jiggling over your jeans, the product, or signing in this case, seems amazing, but will take several years to mold and shape into the desired outcome advertised. It will not happen over the course of one or two nights, or even a season. Puig is not the savior this year, and can not be the fill-space and remedy for the current "ambulance line-up " the Dodgers have. Maybe this is why the Dodgers parking lot has not be renovated all this time. Management had their eyes on the Puig investment, that will take the same amount of construction time as the parking lot, first.
And, there is more....
Talented is talented, there is no questioning that. However, the scouting report on Puig has dust on it, literally. It has been a year since the last time his skills were on display to scouts of importance. Yes, he has had the difficulty of life, and desires to better it by splitting from Cuba, in his way, but, 42 million might be a little risky for a player based solely on the VHS tape sent into the Dodgers. Did anyone think it would be a cool idea to see him live, first? What is the return policy on the receipt? All good questions. When will Magic answer them?
At 6'3, and over 200 pounds, he has the make-up and apparent skill set that will relate to the game, and make him worthy of the price tag offered. One scout said, "He is the quickest player to ever come out of Cuba." That is all good stuff, but what about the mental make-up? Is he a nut case? Will he be a Cespedes in blue, or will he be the next high-speed chase down the I-10 in a white bronco? His ability to hit an inside-fastball or lay off a sharp slider is the easy part to mentor, when compared to decisions faced when dealing with the "celebrity' this town loves, and will hate just as easily. Again, I would like to think these questions were answered already, and, this kid is the next "star" for Chavez Ravine.
Regardless if Yasiel Puig is the right, the wrong, or the so-so, he is definitely not the right now. The Dodgers should be focusing on immediate fixes for this season -a successful season until last Thursday - and find bats in the trade market that will fit and produce, steadily. The bated-breath for the Dodger faithful should not be for an investment down-the-road, but for Carlos Lee and his pending trade approval. Getting Lee to bolster first base and provide pop to Loney's fizz is news worth watching, and continuing to watch. Without a veteran, proven hitter the Dodgers second half does not look bueno (Spanish for good).
Missing out on the divisional title, or even a wild card, is not the slogan the "new Dodgers" office wants to post. Signing Yasiel Puig is a big story, and the buzz surrounding the deal is impacting the city's fans, and rightfully so. But, no one cares what is going to happen 3 or 4 years ahead. Wining then will not stop the losing now. Let that ring for a moment......RING!
I will call it "EXTREME POGO......WITH A LOOP!"