Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s shady past comes to light in the media. We now have a better understanding of why the Dodgers Cuban-born shining star has refused to talk about his arrival in the U.S. It’s pretty scary stuff, according to a Los Angeles Magazine investigative piece last Sunday, (picked up by other media) and now a similar exposé on ESPN today.
Puig did not simply book a flight out of Cuba. The talented ballplayer reportedly escaped from the island with the help of human traffickers on a harrowing journey that took him to Mexico and then to American soil back in 2012. Later, Puig would sign a $42-million contract with the Dodgers.
However, the cost for his escape was high — not just in money. The 23 year-old right fielder is said to have received “threats” from some of the smugglers. Also, the slugger is the target of a $12 million Florida lawsuit filed on behalf of a man, now serving time in a Cuban prison, who alleges Puig “wrongfully accused a man of attempting to set up a prior defection.”
The spotlight on his coming -to-America drama has prompted a rare statement from Puig, which came out yesterday through his agent, Adam Katz.
“I’m aware of the recent articles and news accounts. I understand that people are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject. I’m represented on this matter, and I’m only focused on being a productive teammate and helping the Dodgers win games.”
In his rookie year, Puig was quite a sensation. During June of 2013, his first month in MLB, Puig hit 7 home runs. Puig ended the season with 19 home runs, 42 RBI, and 66 runs in 104 games. However along with great promise, Puig has brought with him some dangerous baggage, which the Dodger organization is going to have to deal with in order to protect his security as well as that other players and the fans.