PHOENIX -- With excerpts from the soon-to-be-released Molly Knight book, “The Best Team Money Can Buy,” beginning to emerge, the team has found itself on a defensive footing over the portrayal of the rest of the team’s relationship with outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Among the revelations in the book are several examples of clashes Puig has had with teammates over the years, including one anecdote from this spring in which Puig attempted to bring a member of his entourage on a team flight that was intended for wives and girlfriends. According to the book, Puig argued with pitcher Zack Greinke about it and nearly came to blows with infielder Justin Turner.
A couple of Dodgers players approached about the book declined to discuss it. Some were upset that the issues had leaked publicly. Nobody denied the scenes were portrayed accurately. Knight, a former staff writer at ESPN The Magazine, was frequently around the team over the two seasons she details in the book, which is to be released on July 14.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who has at times publicly expressed his frustration with Puig, said he didn’t feel the need to discuss it with members of the team since the scenes of turmoil were in the past. He said the incident over the flight during spring training was handled internally without the intervention of anyone from the coaching staff.
“It was just different stuff we had talked about and it was them presenting information to him,” Mattingly said. “I saw on [MLB Network] them talking about it like it was an on-going thing. It’s not an on-going thing. The clubhouse is solid.”
While no one is denying there remains, at times, tension between Puig and teammates, most players consider the clubhouse to be a better environment this season after a series of personnel moves made by the front office, which prioritized functionality.
Over the three seasons Puig has been in the major leagues, teammates have complained at times -- always anonymously -- about his tardiness for workouts or -- occasionally -- games, and other actions some viewed as disrespectful. Puig also has shown remorse at times, asking for his teammates’ feedback during a team meeting at the start of the 2014 season.