More than three years have passed since Yasiel Puig appeared in a Major League Baseball game, and his path to a potential return to MLB took a considerable hit on Monday. According to a release from the United States Department of Justice, Puig agreed to plead guilty to a charge of lying to federal officials with regard to participation in an illegal gambling operation.
— Steve Chiotakis (@RadioChio) November 14, 2022
According to the release, Puig will be fined $55,000 and the charge carries “a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.” The release also lays out that Puig began wagering on sports, though baseball was not included in the filing, and he allegedly placed 899 sports bets over a three-month period.
The charge takes shape for what transpired after, however, as Puig allegedly lied to federal investigators in January 2022, indicating he did not place bets and only had involvement with the other party through baseball. Prosecutors were seemingly able to prove this was false by finding documentation of him withdrawing $200,000 to pay off gambling debts, and Puig will now face sentencing on March 8, 2023.
Puig last played for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019, and he was an All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. Though he was only 28 years old when he stopped playing in MLB, Puig’s career seems to be in peril, and it remains to be seen as to how this plea and potential sentence might impact his current playing career in South Korea.