On Friday, it was reported that the Dodgers are trying to trade outfielder Yasiel Puig -- perhaps in a three-team deal involving Jay Bruce and the Reds. That got us to thinking -- if the rumors are true, then where might Puig land?
To answer that question, we surveyed the league and came up with eight teams that could conceivably hop into the negotiations with an eye on claiming Puig as their own.
Here they are, listed in order of least to most likely to pull it off.
Another team that's tied to Bruce, the seemingly capped-out Mariners could use an impact-level talent on a sub-market deal. (But then, couldn't everyone?) Jerry Dipoto doesn't have a great farm system to deal from, and his best big-league pieces are the ones he can least afford to move. As such, the Mariners probably aren't getting Puig, unless the Dodgers just pick a team at random to deal with.
The Orioles have a more glaring need in their rotation than in their lineup, but Puig would nonetheless make sense for a few reasons. Foremost, he would represent an upgrade over Pedro Alvarez, who serves as the most-days designated hitter. Additionally, Puig would give the Orioles a potential All-Star-level talent who could help replace Mark Trumbo if and when he departs via free agency this winter. The Orioles don't have a great farm system, so the Dodgers' eagerness to dump Puig would determine Baltimore's chances more than anything.
The Mets wouldn't seem likely to add another corner outfielder, but they've been tied to Bruce with the explanation being they're open to figuring out how the pieces fit later. Remember, these same Mets played Yoenis Cespedes in center last season, and have taken to doing the same this season with Michael Conforto. Puig isn't your ideal center fielder, but so long as he starts hitting again, the Mets would probably live with his glove. That said, we're not necessarily buying their chances.
Between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have two-thirds of a stellar outfield. Puig, in theory anyway, could complete the trifecta. Of course, the Red Sox also have a pretty good outfield prospect on the way -- you might've heard of Andrew Benintendi -- but here's the fix there: Puig could slide to DH next season, replacing David Ortiz and giving the Red Sox an enviable amount of talented outfielders. Nah? You're probably right.
The Braves have been connected in the past few weeks with Chris Sale and Jonathan Lucroy, suggesting they might be in the market for a face-of-the-franchise type in time for their move to a new ballpark. A hearty and hale Puig would give the Braves an exciting young star to build around -- and they just so happen to have the prospect pieces to make it happen. That doesn't mean this is likely, but the Braves seem well-positioned to make a splash sooner than later.
T-2. Texas Rangers, Houston Astros
We're pairing these two together because they're a lot alike. Both are housed in Texas, both are plausible playoff teams and both have strong farm systems with a seeming need in the outfield. The questions here are whether the Rangers are more interested in a rotation boost, and whether the Astros would risk introducing Puig to their young clubhouse -- that sounds silly, but it's the kind of stuff general managers have to worry about before making trades.
When it comes to small-payroll teams like the Indians, they have to jump on their opportunities to acquire potential superstars. As such, for as much as the Indians might like their own outfield prospects, there's probably no question on whether they would trade them for Puig, who has already achieved a high level of success in the majors. Add in how Puig would give the Indians immediate help -- an important thing considering Cleveland is fighting for a pennant -- and we're awarding them the top spot here.