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Dodgers Dugout: Yasiel Puig says he’s ready to change

Yasiel Puig during his Dodger days.
(Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and before we get to today’s news, a reminder about our greatest moment in Dodgers history list.

I’ve asked you before to list the greatest Dodgers in history. This time, I need your greatest moments in Dodgers history. Here’s what I need:

1. Email me your list of the 10 greatest moments in Dodger history.

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2. Rank them in order, with your first moment being your top choice for the greatest moment. I’ll assign points based on where you have them ranked, with 12 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third, and so on.

3. A moment can be whatever you want it to be. The Kirk Gibson homer. The Sandy Koufax perfect game. The Dodgers hitting four homers in a row in the bottom of the ninth. Fernandomania. Winning the 2020 World Series. Winning the 1955 World Series. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. R.J. Reynolds’ squeeze bunt. Rick Monday saves the flag. It can be from Brooklyn or Los Angeles. Whatever you want. Just come up with 10.

4. That’s all you have to do. Simple! Starting in mid-January or so, I’ll run the 20 moments that got the most points. So put on your thinking caps. Does Charlie Culberson‘s homer in Vin Scully‘s final game deserve a spot in your top 10? Maury Wills’ stolen base record? Don Drysdale consecutive scoreless innings streak? Orel Hershiser‘s? There are dozens of moments to choose from.

So, email me your choices at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, or just click here. Please put Dodger moments in the subject line.

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Yasiel Puig speaks

He hasn’t been a Dodger for a while now, but I still get plenty of emails from Dodger fans hoping the team will sign Yasiel Puig this offseason.

Puig had a tumultuous time in L.A. and was traded to Cincinnati before the 2019 season for many reasons, one being that he often refused to listen to coaches regarding defensive positioning. While fans would ooh and aah when Puig would run half a mile to catch a ball, make a diving attempt and just miss, coaches would be unhappy because if he had positioned himself where they told him, he would have caught the ball easily. But instead Puig would get a great ovation for his hustle, with fans unaware he had actually blown the play.

Now, Puig is sorry. He is currently playing with Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League, and had this to say in a videoconference call with reporters, according to David Venn of mlb.com:

“The main thing for me and my agent right now is to be healthy and improve the things that bothered some people when I played,” Puig said. “To give my best in the playoffs and in the big leagues in the future, if I have the opportunity in spring 2021.

When asked to explain further, Puig said,

“You’ve got to pay attention to the coaches. If they tell me to move to a certain area and the ball ends up being hit somewhere else, that’s a problem with their statistics. They’re the ones in charge.

“I didn’t like to do it, because I’m the one in the game and I see if the batter is going to hit the ball here or not. If they decide [on the positioning], you’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to do what they say. I’m ready to play in the big leagues and leave behind the things that were bothersome.”

Puig didn’t play for a major league team last season and remains unsigned. He was going to sign with the Atlanta Braves in mid-July last season, but tested positive for the coronavirus and the deal was never done.

There are two ways to read Puig’s statements. He is genuine and has learned a lesson, or he is saying what teams want to hear so he can be signed again. Time will tell. Hopefully a team signs him, because whatever his faults, Puig is genuinely fun to watch. But the odds of the Dodgers signing him are too long to calculate.

Are the Dodgers getting DJ LeMahieu?

There are a few reporters out there saying that the Dodgers are in negotiations with DJ LeMahieu and will make him their third baseman next season. LeMahieu led the AL in batting average (.364) and on-base percentage (.421) last season. We take that with a grain of salt since he played only 50 games, but the season before that he hit .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs. He has finished in the top five for AL MVP voting the last two seasons. He was with the Yankees both seasons.

He will turn 33 in July and signing him would put the Dodgers over the luxury tax threshold, so those are drawbacks. The Yankees are negotiating with him too.

Of course, Justin Turner is still out there too.

Will there be a DH in the NL next season?

The NL sent a memo to clubs to proceed as if there won’t be a DH in the NL next season. There’s still a chance that could change, and the expectation is that at some point this decade the DH will be a permanent NL fixture.

And finally

The final inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. Watch it here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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