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Phillies liked Puig before he signed with Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is one of the best stories in baseball.

He entered Saturday's game against the Phillies hitting .424 (39-for-92) with four doubles, seven home runs, 16 RBIs and a .696 slugging percentage in 24 games. Puig defected from Cuba in June 2012 and signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers.

It is terribly early in the deal, but it could be a bargain by the end of it.

"We saw him and we liked him," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week. "LA jumped up astronomically on him. Good for them; they did the right thing. It's a huge risk. It's paid off, so far."

Amaro said the Phillies also looked into other recent Cuban defectors like A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and Cubs prospect Jorge Soler, who signed a nine-year, $30 million contract.

"We looked at them and had interesting conversations with their people," Amaro said. "But people decided it was worth the risk to go and throw big-time money at guys. You hope those things work out. Hideki Irabu didn't work out. [Jose] Contreras worked out on certain levels. [Rey] Ordonez. Dice-K [Daisuke Matsuzaka]. It's a risk."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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