Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig has made no bones about his desire to make the trip to Citi Field for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
Asked about Puig's All-Star candidacy, the Phillies closer minced no words. Defending his fellow veterans, Papelbon cited the Dodgers outfielder's lack of service time, saying it "does an injustice" to compare Puig to players with a proven track record.
Here is Papelbon's full quote, with transcription courtesy of CBS Philly:
To me, it’s an absolute joke. It’s really kind of stupid if you ask me. The guy’s got a month, I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues, and just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the all-star team, that’s a joke to me. It’s just really what happens in baseball when…to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight, nine, ten plus years, and it kind of does them an injustice because they’ve worked so hard to stay there.
The 22-year-old Puig has indeed been up in the big leagues for less than a month. The Cuban defector, whom the Dodgers signed to a $42 million contract just one year ago, received a call-up from the Dodgers on June 2 and made his debut a day later.
During that time, though, Puig has taken Major League Baseball by storm. The 6'3", 245-pound Puig has lived up to every bit of the hype and then some from when he was signed by Los Angeles, hitting .436 with seven home runs and 16 RBI during his first month in the bigs.
Adding four steals and a cannon arm from right field to boot, Puig's eclectic skill set has made him one of the most exciting young talents in baseball. His 44 hits during the month of June were the most during a player's first month in the majors since Joe DiMaggio had 48 in May of 1936.
Playing with the joy and aggression of a young man just happy to be there, Puigmania has created the most intrigue for baseball in Los Angeles since the MannyWood era. According to Forbes' Jesse Lawrence, the average price of Dodgers tickets has skyrocketed 88 percent since his arrival. People both inside and outside of Los Angeles have come in droves to see the Cuban mystery man.
As Puig continues to ascend, there has been plenty of talk about the Dodgers star making the All-Star Game. While it's almost impossible for fans to vote him in—he's only a write-in possibility, with ballots having long been printed before his major league rise—some have called on NL manager Bruce Bochy to let Puig play.
On one side, the Midsummer Classic is a spectacle made for fans. Puig is arguably the hottest name in baseball. His name resonates with casual fans, ones that MLB would want on its product during one of its biggest events.
On the other, though, Bochy will be trying to win the game and secure home-field advantage in the World Series for his league. The San Francisco Giants manager would also have to pass on more established veterans to give Puig the nod.
Either way, Papelbon has made his feelings on the matter quite clear.
It will be awfully interesting to see what happens if and when Puig steps to the plate against Papelbon later this season. The Phillies and Dodgers have one more series this season, starting Aug. 16 in Philadelphia.
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