His announcement took place on social media, and he revealed that he shows no symptoms. Despite being asymptomatic, the positive test led to a failed physical for Puig. Passing that physical was the last necessary step for him to join the Braves. Now, he must follow MLB protocols, stating that he cannot return to action without two negative tests.
Puig was the last notable free agent unsigned from the 2019 class. Now, even with the start of the season delayed four months, he finds himself without a place to play one week out of Opening Day.
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) July 17, 2020
It was one step forward, two steps back for the Braves on Friday. The Puig news came shortly after first baseman Freddie Freeman returned to the field after his bout with Covid-19. Following a conversation with Freeman about dealing with the virus, outfielder Nick Markakis opted to sit out the season. The plan was for Puig to replace Markakis, but that is no longer the case.
The team still fields a strong lineup in pursuit of their third-consecutive NL East title, but Puig would have been a welcome addition. Even in a down year in 2019, he managed to hit 24 home runs and post average offensive numbers as evident by his 100 OPS+. That came in 149 games split between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
The future remains uncertain for Yasiel Puig. His ability to return to action is contingent on getting those two negative tests. In the best case scenario, he can get healthy fast enough to sign on with a team before the September 15th deadline to be eligible for the postseason. In the worst case scenario, his health does not recover as quickly as possible, and that, plus him missing both training camps in 2020, could lead to Puig going unsigned all season.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images