Yasiel Puig is a new Hero…
The 31-year-old Cuban former Major League Baseball outfielder has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with South Korean club Kiwoom Heroes.
Puig hasn’t played in the MLB since 2019, when he played 100 games for the Cincinnati Reds and 49 for the Cleveland Indians before becoming a free agent.
Ko Hyung-wook, the general manager of the Seoul-based Heroes, said Puig’s past season in the Mexican League, where he batted .312 and hit 10 home runs for El Aguila de Veracruz, showed that his skills remained “excellent.”
Ko said Puig still has an interest in making a return to the big leagues and hoped that his drive to prove himself will have a positive impact on his Korean teammates. Ko downplayed concerns about Puig’s maturity, saying he came away with the impression that the former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was “devoted to family, and mature” after their personal talks.
Puig batted .277 with 132 home runs and 415 RBI while appearing in seven major league seasons, the first six with the Dodgers where he earned an MLB All-Star selection in 2014.
Puig’s offensive production regressed in the following years and he also developed a reputation for erratic on-field behavior, finding himself in the middle of several bench-clearing incidents. He was suspended three games in 2019 for his involvement in a brawl against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last game as a Red, an altercation that happened just moments after the team traded him to the Cleveland Indians.
Puig was reportedly in talks for a deal with the Atlanta Braves last year before he announced via Twitter in July 2020 that he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Heroes finished fifth among 10 clubs in the Korea Baseball Organization in this year’s regular season and were eliminated by crosstown rivals Doosan Bears in the first round of the postseason.