Yasiel Puig remains a free agent as Opening Day approaches, and a report Thursday by ESPN.com's John Barr states that the outfielder remains without a job - at least in part, per a source - because of an allegation by a woman who said Puig sexually assaulted her in a Staples Center bathroom.
Major League Baseball investigators have interviewed the woman, according to Barr's report:
The woman, identified in federal court documents only as Jane Roe, sued Puig last October, saying the former Dodgers outfielder followed her into a bathroom after an October 2018 Lakers game, "pinned her with one arm" to prevent her from leaving, groped her and masturbated in front of her.
The woman did not file a police report. Puig has not been charged with any crime. He denies the allegations in a court filing, which also asks a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
A number of teams that reportedly expressed interest in Puig this spring have factored the allegations into their decisions.
"Nobody wants the headache," the front-office source told ESPN.
In a televised interview last week, Puig's agent, Rachel Luba, said the goal and plan are for Puig to sign with an MLB team in the near future.
"It's a weird, weird offseason, that's for sure," Luba added.
Puig, who turned 30 in December, became a free agent after the 2019 season. He did not play in MLB last season.
In 100 games for the Reds during the 2019 season, Puig hit .252 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs. In 207 plate appearances for the Indians after the Reds sent Puig to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade that brought 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, Puig hit .297 with two homers and 23 RBIs.
Luba also represents Bauer, who brought the Reds a compensation pick after the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft when he agreed last month to a three-year, $102 million deal with the Dodgers.
MLB analyst and former Reds general manager Jim Bowden reported in January that Puig was a candidate to join the New York Yankees, the Kansas City Royals or the Miami Marlins.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported earlier in the month that Puig was drawing interest from multiple Major League Baseball teams, including the Yankees, the Marlins, the Boston Red Sox, the Houston Astros and the Baltimore Orioles.
Puig announced via Twitter last July that he tested positive for COVID-19, and his deal with the Atlanta Braves that had been reported earlier that week was off after the two sides failed to reach a formal agreement.
Puig played for the Dodgers for six seasons before the Reds acquired him in Dec. 2018 with Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and cash for Jeter Downs, Josiah Gray and Homer Bailey.
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