Though he continues to blossom into one of the top talents in Major League Baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been in the news recently for events taking place off the baseball diamond. The 23-year-old Cienfuegos, Cuba native made his MLB debut in June of 2013 shortly after agreeing to a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers and while his impressive skills on both the offensive and defensive side of the game are surely impressive, the rising star finds himself in the middle of a unique situation, one that is certainly not to be taken lightly.

Upon exiting Cuba in 2012, Puig received the assistance of human traffickers in order to make his way to the United States. According to multiple sources, Puig has received threats from those who helped organize his defection due to their reported unhappiness with the Los Angeles star. Friend Yunior Despaigne -- who was with the Dodgers outfielder during his escape -- says Puig was in constant physical danger throughout the ordeal since exit routes forced him to dive into dark waters to evade the Cuban authorities and move through crocodile-infested swamps while also being held captive on an island in close proximity to Cancun, Mexico.

Spending weeks in a guarded location near Cancun, Puig, Despaigne and two others were awaiting the final step in the escape but when expected payment took longer to arrive than previously indicated, the situation grew dangerous. Outlining the events that took place while waiting in the apartment off the coast of Cancun, Despaigne told Los Angeles Magazine recently that physical threats were made toward Puig, threats that would derail any hope he had of playing baseball in the United States. Though Despaigne says the group was there willingly, he also notes that it was an extremely uncomfortable environment to be in.

“I don’t know if you could call it a kidnapping, because we had gone there voluntarily, but we also weren’t free to leave,” Despaigne said of the time spent waiting for the money to arrive from a Miami middleman who arranged the departure. “If they didn’t receive the money, they were saying that at any moment they might give him a machetazo - a whack with a machete - chop off an arm, a finger, whatever, and he would never play baseball again, not for anyone.”

Yasiel Puig MLB 2014 Yasiel Puig continues to develop into one of the top offensive talents in the MLB. Reuters

Though Puig and company were eventually saved by a rival trafficking ring and moved to Mexico City, the original group has come calling for their payment. Twenty percent of Puig’s $42 million contract with the Dodgers has reportedly gone to the successful group but due to the fact that the original plotters have grown slighted, the situation has landed in the public spotlight. Puig himself however, is not ready to discuss the matter any further.

“I'm aware of the recent articles and news accounts,” he said. “I understand that people are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject. I'm represented on this matter, and I'm only focused on being a productive teammate and helping the Dodgers win games.”

In 12 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, Puig has one home run and five RBI’s to go along with a .250 batting average.