Yasiel Puig Signs $1M Deal With KBO Club
Ex-MLB outfielder and Dodgers star Yasiel Puig finally has a new home.
The 31-year-old, who hasn’t played major league ball since 2019, has just been signed to a one-year, $1 million deal with South Korean club the Kiwoom Heroes. The value of the contract is the maximum allowed for overseas players.
The Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO) club announced the contract on Wednesday.
Puig Still Relevant Says GM
Puig last played in the MLB in 2019. That year, he played 100 games for the Cincinnati Reds, and 49 for the Cleveland Indians. He then became free agent, after which he spent the past season playing in the Mexican League.
There, he averaged it up at .312 and hit 10 homers for El Aguila de Veracruz. According to Heroes General Manager Ko Hyung-wook, this had been all the proof needed by the club of Puig’s relevance. Ko also said the interest to make a return to the big leagues remained strong and alive in Puig, which he (Ko) hoped would mean having a positive and motivating impact on his Korean teammates.
Ko also stumped out concerns over Puig’s level of maturity. He said after several conversations with the former Dodger, he had been left with the impression that Puig was indeed a mature individual – and one fully devoted to his family.
A Decent Start
After making a start with the Dodgers in 2013, Puig quickly rose through the ranks for having made a significant impact. By 2014, he’d been named an All-Star after hitting .296 and 16 home runs. He also managed to accumulate a few National League MVP votes that year.
After flaming out for the Dodgers and spending 2019 with the Reds and with Cleveland, Puig had been hoping to be signed with the Atlanta Braves. But that particular agreement had apparently been thwarted by health and safety issues.
The Turn In The Road
Across his seven MLB season appearances, Puig batted a total of .277, with 132 home runs and 415 RBI.
While Puig remained something of a performer, he unfortunately over time developed a reputation for erratic and impulsive behaviour on the field. His bench-clearing behaviour eventually saw him suspended three games in 2019. He ultimately got traded to the Cleveland Indians just moments before a particularly nasty brawl while playing against the Pittsburgh Pirates during that same year.
As for his new club the Heroes, they finished fifth from among 10 in this year’s regular KBO season. They were eventually ousted by the Doosan Bears during the first round of the postseason.