By Conrad Clowers
Cincinnati Herald Sports
I’ll never forget it. A few years ago, I was listening to national radio talk show host Collin Cowherd . Cowherd was berating legendary Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman for saying it would be a travesty if then-Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was voted to start the MLB All Star game. Here we are a few years later. Puig brings his talents thousands of miles east from Los Angeles. Now he wears Cincinnati red. Brennamen is now in Puig’s corner.
Since being traded to the Reds in December 2018, Puig has brought star-quality such as Deion Sanders and Ken Griffey Jr. did after their trades here. Puig instantly fell in love with the city, and the city fell in love with him. Puig has even hung out with Cincy Mayor John Cranley.
The former Dodger brings a powerful bat into the Reds lineup that is much needed. Will he be here for a long time?… beats me. You know how baseball is. As a player you could buy a house on Monday, be traded Wednesday and have your house on the market by Friday. Puig is playing here on a one-year contract. Whether he makes it through that one year or longer is anyone’s guess. Many of the factors will depend on where the Reds are in the race, his production and what the team can get for him.
So far Puig has shown great promise six years into his career. He has a career average of .279 with 108 home runs along with 331 runs batted in.
Puig, who has been compared to the likes of Bo Jackson and Ron Gant with his physical prowess and strength, was one of seven Dodgers to hit at least 20 home runs last season.
Thus far, this season the Cuban-born Puig has not gotten off to a great start with the Reds. In two games, he has had seven at bats with no hits, while striking out four times.
Historically, when the Miami, Florida, native catches fire, he stays hot for a long time. Last season at one point, Puig hit five home runs in two days en route to being named National League Player of the week. He has had seven multiple home-run games in his career.
“I love Cincinnati,” says Puig. “Red is my color.”
The way the Reds schedule falls, fans will not get many opportunities on weekends to see Puig and his teammates during the first month of the season. The Reds will be on the road for four straight weekends. On three of those weeks, they will be playing during the week.
At some point, the 28-year-old outfielder will come on strong. It’s only a matter of when.
The Reds made more moves this off-season than they have in recent years coming off their fifth straight 90-plus loss season.
Acquiring a star like Puig is twofold. It enhances the team’s chance of winning, along with putting a few extra people in seats to see his star power.