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Taking pause before Dodgers build that Yasiel Puig monument

June 13, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Divide his uniform number by three, and that's how old Yasiel Puig is.
Divide his uniform number by three, and that's how old Yasiel Puig… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Hmm, Yasiel Puig.

Gets you excited? The young Cuban who oozes – no, gushes talent – who seems to do everything at warp speed. Who in the first seven games of his major-league career was named the National League Player of the Week. The five-tool outfielder with a charismatic smile and Bo Jackson physique.

All very exhilarating. With all kinds of possibilities exist. All kinds.

Because right now I’m pressing a slight pause on the Yasiel Puig is Superman in cleats routine. Wondering the wisdom of the Dodgers hitching their wagon to a young star who just may not have it all figured out yet.

He is without question a phenomenal talent, but he is also 22 years old, likely at least with all the wildness and maturity that typically goes with that.

Which would explain his going a little bonkers Tuesday during the brawl, trying to throw haymakers and not quite getting how important he already is to the team. Matt Kemp was furious in San Diego when Carlos Quentin charged Zack Greinke, but he didn’t throw any punches.

Kemp is also 28 and in his seventh major league season. Puig will likely be suspended for his actions.

But Puig is this supernova who walks through the clubhouse like he understands exactly how gifted he is. There is an alpha dog quality to him. And he’s terribly young to lead.

After Wednesday’s game, Puig simply refused to talk to the media. Ten games into his career and he’s already big-timing the media. Dodgers public relations people tried to explain to him his obligation to the team about speaking with reporters, but he was having none of it.

Ten games into his career, and he’s already running the show.

He was scratched from the lineup Wednesday with what the Dodgers said was a strained shoulder. Then he came in during the 12th inning and fired one of those laser throws of his to the plate from right. It would have been nice to ask him how that worked, but Puig wasn’t in the mood or something.

By itself that wouldn’t bust the selfish meter, but it should be of concern to a franchise that has a lot invested in this young talent. And sooner than they planned. Their season could hinge on his performance, and the way he carries himself with teammates and the public has its importance.

Some will see all that talent and not care if he’s carried to his locker on a golden palanquin, so long as he performs. I’m all for giving him time and listening to wiser voices, assuming he’s listening.

This isn’t meant as a buzz kill. Just a slight pause before the team is practically built around him.

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