Anyone with a Twitter account has seen (or participated in) the pile on that Joc Pederson has received for his defensive play at first base. The defense overall in the past 30 or so games has been pretty terrible. Our own Clint Pasillas recently dove into this problem here.
Tonight, the pile on may have gotten even higher.
Dave Roberts said he pulled Joc Pederson in the 8th inning after he didn’t run out his groundball.
“I think there's a certain way to play the game. I didn't see the effort there.”
Pederson called his effort unprofessional.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 30, 2019
Joc Pederson was benched in the 8th inning for not running out a ground ball.
Manager Dave Roberts spoke on the benching.
You gotta run the ball out. There’s a certain way to play the game. I didn’t see the effort there.
Give a little credit to Joc Pederson for addressing his own failure to hustle right after the game. Everyone is human after all, and it’s not easy to recognize the error of your ways so quickly. This however, may just be the icing on a terrible cake.
In terms of continued defensive struggles, Roberts again took the high road when speaking about continued issues.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 30, 2019
When asked if “defensive miscues can be contagious,” he had this to say.
We pride ourselves on being sure handed and we’re just not making plays that we’ve made consistently. I don’t have an explanation for it.
Joc And A Hard Place
In defense of Joc Pederson, it wasn’t his idea to move to first base. With the crowded talent of outfielders, he was told to play a new position if he wanted to get at bats. I am fairly certain no Dodger fan can place blame on Joc for giving it his best effort. The problem is that changing positions isn’t an easy thing to do in the middle of the season, especially if you’ve never played that position.
To simplify what the consensus of opinions is on this, here it is: This was a fine idea worth trying (especially with such a large division lead) but it’s gotten out of hand, gotten uglier, and not been worth the struggles. Defense is a team effort as much as it is individual, and it can wear on a team. It very clearly has.
It’s also been pondered as to whether showcasing Joc Pederson’s ‘positional versatility’ has been a ploy to increase his trade value. Needless to say, this hasn’t really helped that case. However, Joc is still a serviceable outfielder, and when he’s hot at the plate–he’s a RHP nightmare.
Realistically, a trade that the Dodgers would be looking at would involved more than just Joc Pederson. Still, defensive blunders and a low effort benching aren’t the best look. Errors at first base from Joc Pederson are likely to continue if the experiment also continues, but I seriously doubt we’ll see low effort from Joc Pederson again. Joc may struggle with many things, but he’s always given his best. It’s more likely that being forced to play a foreign position has affected Joc, affected his trade value, and affected the Dodgers overall defense.