Wait! What? Yasiel Puig is a hero?

It is quiet out there. It’s times like this that I miss the never-ending flow of speculative drivel from major media outlets. There are no laughable Jon Heyman tweets. And no cringeworthy Bob Nightingale claims. Usually, at this time of the year, I have to set my phone to only notify me of Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal tweets to bypass the swamp of misinformation.

But now that there is no barrage of inside scoops or fanciful trade scenarios, I sort of miss it.

Anyway, we have had a signing in the world of baseball. Former Dodgers, Reds and Indians outfielder, Yasiel Puig, has signed a one-year deal with the Kiwoom Heroes of South Korea.

The controversial Cuban crusher is looking to get his career back on track, having missed the last two years of Major League baseball due to catching COVID-19 and a sexual assault case hanging over him. The 31-year-old settled out-of-court in October of this year, but the details of the case are grim…

You can read The Athletic article if you want more information.

Puig made his MLB debut as a 22-year-old in 2013, and during his six years in Los Angeles, he posted 127 OPS+ (100 is average). His Dodgers’ tenure came to an end in a salary dump move with Alex Wood and Matt Kemp (and Kyle Farmer) moving to Cincinnati.

Despite hitting 22 home runs in 100 games for the Reds, he was shipped off midseason to Cleveland in the deal that brought Trevor Bauer (no stranger to sexual assault claims himself) to Cincinnati.

Puig will long remain in the memory of Reds fans after he almost single-handedly sought vengeance against the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite already having been traded away minutes earlier.

Check out Reds’ catcher Tucker Barnhart‘s desperate attempt to stop the Cuban missile attack.

For a while, both Puig and Bauer were represented by the same agent, Rachel Luba, but with no MLB invite on the horizon, the Cuban disentangled himself from Luba Sports last month.

And so, a new chapter begins, this time with the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO. In 2020, Kiwoom boasted another controversial character, Addison Russell, and last year, former MLB players ByungHo Park and Will Craig were Heroes.

This week, in an attempt to revive his reputation, Puig issued an interesting statement. In no way should it mitigate any offences committed, but it does point to a weakness in MLB club’s handling of non-US players – youngsters with non-traditional upbringing/culture, being thrown into the American way of life without the necessary guidance.

Puig is taking decent form to Korea, having posted .926 OPS (10 home runs, .312 AVG) in 62 games for El Aguila de Veracruz in the Mexican League in 2021. And, of course, as it was Puig, he instigated another benches-clearing incident.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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