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Live discussion: Countdown to Angels and Dodgers season openers

March 26, 2013|By Houston Mitchell

Join Times Dodgers writer Dylan Hernandez and Angels writer Mike DiGiovanna at 10:30 a.m. today for a live discussion of the Angels and Dodgers.

Two big topics: The Angels are on the verge of trading Vernon Wells to the Yankees, while the Dodgers need to figure out what to do with Yasiel Puig.

As Hernandez wrote this week about Puig:

"Manager Don Mattingly has dropped hints in recent days that spring-training sensation Yasiel Puig could make the Dodgers' opening-day roster as a reserve outfielder.

"But if Puig is with the Dodgers on April 1, he will probably be sent to the minor leagues soon after.

"Puig is 22 and the Dodgers want him to play regularly to round out his rough edges, which won't happen in the major leagues with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in their outfield.

"There's something else the Dodgers have to consider when deciding what to do this season with the Cuban defector: his eventual free agency.

"Although Puig won't be eligible to test the open market for several years, the issue could be significant if he turns into the All-Star he is projected to become by some scouts. By sending Puig to the minor leagues for more than 11 days, the Dodgers can delay his entry into the free-agent market by an entire year.

"Puig is in the second year of a seven-year, $42-million contract. But for him to become a free agent when the deal expires at the end of the 2018 season, he will have to have accrued six years of major league service time by then. The only way that happens is if he is credited with a full season of service time this year.

"The major league season is 183 days long. To be gain a full year of service time, a player has to spend 172 of them in the major leagues, according to the terms of baseball's collective-bargaining agreement.

"That means that if Puig spends more than 11 days in the minor leagues this year, the earliest he could be eligible for free agency would be after the 2019 season. In that case, his 2019 salary would be determined by the arbitration process.

"Puig went into Monday batting .527 and Mattingly said the Dodgers were considering "all different scenarios" with him."

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