After fans clamoring for it since Spring Training, the Dodgers are finally breaking Yasiel Puig out of his minor league prison and have promoted him to the majors. With Matt Kemp on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Puig will take over for Kemp in center field.
Puig signed a seven year, $42 million contract last June, and played in 23 games in the Arizona League and high-A last season, posting a .354/.442/.634 line with five homers. He hit .517 in Spring Training, and cries for him to make the Opening Day roster even with the Dodgers having a full outfield of Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford. Puig has spent his entire year with AA Chattanooga and has continued to mash, with a .982 OPS, eight homers, and 13 stolen bases making the cries to promote him even louder.
He'll take over in center for Kemp, who has terribly struggled this year. Many think that Kemp has been playing hurt, and with his shift to the disabled list, he'll get a chance to repair his surgically repaired shoulder as well as his hamstring. This season, Kemp is hitting just .251/.305/.335 in 51 games and has homered only twice after hitting 23 in 106 games a year ago and smashing 39 in 2011, when he was the MVP runner-up to Ryan Braun of the Brewers.
If Puig holds his own when Kemp comes off of the DL, Los Angeles will be faced with an interesting decision. Kemp, Crawford, and Ethier are all signed long-term to much larger contracts than Puig, and Crawford and Ethier are both on the wrong side of 30. Crawford's been extremely productive in his first year in Dodger blue, but Ethier has been absolutely terrible and has actually been platooned at times. He'd be the one that Los Angeles would love to get rid of, but his hideous contract makes him essentially immovable. Ned Colletti has an interesting decision in his future, even if Puig still needs more seasoning in the minors.