LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig is not on the Dodgers' team flight to Denver on Monday, as the team heads to play a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field.
The initial report came from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who wrote that Puig "stormed off after arriving at Dodger Stadium and being informed that he would either be traded or sent to the minors, according to major-league sources."
Two other reports suggest that Puig wasn't at Dodger Stadium at all, by design.
Sources: Yasiel Puig was instructed not to report to stadium or plane today and did not. Told he would be demoted to minors or traded.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) August 1, 2016
My understanding is the Dodgers informed Puig of the demotion/trade scenario before he came to ballpark for flight. A preventive measure.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 1, 2016
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi on a conference call refused comment on whether or not Puig was on the plane, or his health status, only saying that more would come out on Tuesday, when the Dodgers play next.
Puig's agent, Adam Katz, clarified with Rosenthal:
"I'm told he was not at the park. The club informed me and the player understood clearly that they were making every effort to trade him and that if they were unable to come to terms with another club on a trade - and successful in acquiring another outfielder - that he likely would be demoted. My understanding is that transaction will happen tomorrow."
Rosenthal late updated his story to note that Puig never stormed out of anywhere, and apologized for the mistake. Both sides took the high road later on Monday.
@ken_rosenthal don't worry bro, we all make mistakes #puigyourfriend #seeyousoon— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) August 2, 2016
@YasielPuig I’m still sorry, Yasiel. Shouldn’t have happened.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 2, 2016
The only time Zaidi elaborated regarding Puig was when Dylan Hernandez of the Times asked Zaidi if Puig was his friend, a reference to the #PuigYourFriend hashtag that took Twitter by storm for all of 37 minutes earlier this season.
"He's as much my friend as any player on the team," Zaidi said.
The team is changing, with three trades on Monday, including one for outfielder Josh Reddick, who did arrive at Dodger Stadium along with Rich Hill in time for the Dodgers' flight to Denver.
The laying of blame of fault here can't really be known without all the details, and that is possibly even irrelevant, but what is certain is that the Dodgers have a full-blown mess on their hands at this point.
Puig is having a down season in 2016, hitting just .260/.320/.386, though with improved defense and baserunning. Since returning from the disabled list on June 21, Puig was hitting .308/.390/.440 in 28 games. He was dealing with right hamstring tightness last week that limited him to three plate appearances and no starts in eight games, but in his return to the lineup on Sunday was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Which makes Monday's reported ultimatum even more odd, at least without knowing the rest of the story. That will come in due time, but for know Puig doesn't appear to be in the Dodgers' short-term plans.
"For us, the production out of right field just hasn’t been as good as we expected," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Kelli Tenant on SportNet LA. "For us, Reddick is an impact-type player. What he does against right-handed pitching is special, and he’s a really good defender on the other side of the ball."
Puig does have an option year remaining, having used options in 2012 and 2013.
As for the long-term plans, Puig is under contract for two years and $14 million from 2017-18, and is eligible for salary arbitration in 2019 as well. In order for the Dodgers to trade him this season, Puig would have to clear waivers, or the Dodgers would have to work out a deal with the claiming team if they so choose.