Remember when cats were saying Tupac was alive and living in Cuba ? There were folks who really hoped the impossible was true. Hip-hop was in a bad place and had lost a ton of talent in a short span—similar to the LA Dodgers this season.
Skipper Don Mattingly is on the hot seat. Rumors of his firing—once dismissed as hyperbole—are teetering on becoming a reality. The Dodgers have been the victims of the “everything that can go bad will” syndrome.
They are without ’09 NL MVP Matt Kemp, multi-talented masher Hanley Ramirez and big-money outfielder Carl Crawford, who’s had nagging hamstring issues. They have scored the third-fewest runs in baseball this season (195), and after getting iced 7-2 by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday and falling to an NL West-worst 23-32, the LA Dodgers front office has put up the official white flag of desperation. They’re calling up high-priced Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig from Double-A, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
The excitement of watching Puig play and hoping he proves to be a lightning-in-a-bottle success story (Cuban refugees escaping the clutches of Castro to become a superstar in American baseball)—is as good as it gets right now for Dodgers fans.
The Dodgers signed Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract last summer, before acquiring Crawford in a blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. Puig got busy in spring training, but he couldn’t get any burn in an outfield comprised of Kemp, Crawford and masher Andre Ethier—a trio expected to battle Atlanta for dopest MLB outfield props. He was sent to Double-A Chattanooga instead, where he stroked .313/.383/.599 with eight home runs and 13 stolen bases in 40 games.
With the season sinking faster than Emmanuel Lewis in quicksand, one would pay big money to be a fly on the wall of Magic Johnson’s meetings with his ownership team, LA brass and manager Don Mattingly.
Magic must be flipping. He’s getting the direct opposite results from what he predicted when his team broke the bank on this star-studded squad.
The move to call up Puig and throw the 22-year-old into the MLB fire says a lot. The Dodger’s season is becoming a hit-and-miss soap opera of wretched luck, futile play and unfortunate circumstances.
With big money invested, headlines must still be fed and if investing almost a billion dollars in players and product didn’t do the trick, LA owners have to still feed the machine and find a healthy face. Puig has the personality to sell. He is a demonstrative cat, lashing out in frustration when he K’s and celebrating obnoxiously when he excels.
Fans have clamored for Puig all season long (his power has been compared to Bryce Harper.) However, he’s still very raw and it’s a move that reeks of desperation. Let’s hope he’s ready to carry that burden. Nothing else has worked out for LA this year.