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Dodgers: Joc Pederson’s Next 12 Months Should Be Interesting

The year 2020 will be interesting for Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. I am taking a break from the cheating scandals and the Hall of Fame voting results to talk about the upcoming season.

The 2020 calendar year started with Pederson and the Dodgers being $1.75M apart in arbitration numbers. For the last several off-seasons he has been subject to trade rumors and this off-season has not been any different. However, it looks like Joc will be in the Dodgers lineup against right-handed pitching starting the 2020 season.

The big question becomes whether the Dodgers just hold on to Pederson for one more season or do they consider a multi-year contract for him.

It is amazing that over 2,400 fans were split 50/50. This article will take a look at the career of Pederson so far and look at what a fair multi-year contract might look like.

The 2019 Season

All in all, it seems 2019 was Pederson’s best season in the Major Leagues. Last September I wrote about some key improvements he made. Pederson is a very streaky hitter and 2019 was no different. Some statistical highlights:

  • Career highs in hits, runs, RBI and batting average
  • 36 home runs – career high
  • .558 slugging – career high
  • .876 OPS – career high
  • 127 OPS+ – career high
  • Career highs in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating/150 (UZR/150)

With a bWAR (Baseball Reference wins above replacement) of 3.3 and a fWAR (FanGraphs model) of 3.0, Pederson was quite a bargain at $5M in 2019. Some value a WAR point of anywhere from $7-10M so Joc was worth anywhere from $21M to $30M in value. His arbitration salary demand of $9.5M does not seem unreasonable.

Figuring Out What Joc Should Be Paid

Below is a table of outfielders sorted by wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) of players with a similar wRC+ to Joc Pederson. The 2020 salary for each player is also included. If Pederson actually does reach arbitration I can see Joc willing his $9.5M request.

Player PA wRC+ AVG OBP SLG 2020 Sal
Trey Mancini 679 132 .291 .364 .535 $4.75M
Bryan Reynolds 546 131 .314 .377 .503 $0.56M
Joc Pederson 514 127 .249 .339 .538 TBD
Ronald Acuna Jr. 715 126 .280 .365 .518 $1.0M
Ramon Laureano 481 126 .288 .340 .521 $0.56M
Michael Conforto 648 126 .257 .363 .494 $8.0M
Charlie Blackmon 634 125 .314 .364 .576 $21.5M
Bryce Harper 682 125 .267 .380 .521 $27.5M

If the Dodgers want to keep Pederson, I wonder what the Dodgers might offer him. Joc turns 28 in April as he reaches his last year of team control. A good comparison might be Corey Dickerson who just signed a 2 year/$17.5M contract at the age of 30 (he turns 31 in May).

If the Dodgers want to give him a 3-year contract that covers his last arbitration year, then a 3 year/$27-30M would seem to be in order. The contract could pay the following amounts over those years: $9M, $10M, $11M. He would still be a free agent for his 31 year-old season.

Other Options for Joc

A trade is always an option for any player but it looks to me like the Dodgers are going into the 2020 season with Pederson as a key outfielder. Alex Verdugo may still not fully healed from his 2019 injuries so I can see an outfield (from left to right) of A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger, and Pederson. A right-handed hitter would platoon with Joc. Once Verdugo is ready then things could change and then a trade becomes a possibility.

One other remote option is for the Dodgers to offer Pederson a Qualifying Offer (somewhere around $18M) after 2020. I don’t see the Dodgers doing that with a platoon player and I think Joc would jump on that offer. I just don’t see the Qualifying Offer happening unless Pederson makes some big jumps in production against left-handed pitching and a much higher on-base percentage without losing his power.

Final Thoughts

Joc Pederson is an interesting story and I was pretty sure he would be traded. Now that it looks like that time has passed and he’s going to arbitration, the Dodgers need to figure out what they want of Pederson in their future. He also needs to decide if he wants to try and get away from being a platoon player with the Dodgers. Of course, money will play a big part in the decisions to come.

Pederson has been improving since his tough 2017 season and he could take some more leaps in 2020. If the Dodgers think he could make more improvements then they should strongly consider making Pederson a multi-year offer. They also need to decide how much room they want to leave for prospects or free agents for the outfield. Any big salaries means they are self-limited from spending on someone else.

Continue this conversation! Where do you think Joc will be 12 months from today?

NEXT: Alex Wood Looking Ready for Spring Training

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

16 Comments

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  1. I see him playing somewhere where coach has faith In him to play everyday,and Joc puts up monster numbers lime 270 average,50+ hrs,115 rbis. But my wish is for Dodgers to keep him and play him every day and trade pollock,or release him.

    • Joc can’t hit lefties and has proven that over the course of his career. So he won’t play everyday no matter what team he plays for.

    • Pollock lead the team in nearly every offensive category post all=stat break and is still a top 20 OF’r in MLB and you’d release him? LOL Thankfully people like you don’t get jobs in baseball

  2. This article says Pederson had a disappointing 2017. Overall maybe. But he picked up at the end. He hit 333 with 3 HR and 5 RBI in 2017 world series. On a Dodger team with few postseason performers, that ain’t bad.

  3. If WAR suggests that Joc is worth $21M, there’s something terribly wrong with the calculation. I realize he had a superb 2019 against RHP but he has played in 261 games against LHP over the course of 5 years and his stats are so abysmal that he’s actually worse batting against them than he is at playing 1st base which is saying something. Unless he can drastically improve against them in 2020, the Dodgers have no choice but to let him walk.

    • Why no choice but to let him walk? He’s been on the team for 5+ years and we’ve won with him for 5+ years. Why would it be no choice but to let him walk?

      • TNT, when talking about winning with him for 5+ years that is correct BUT Dodgers have not won it all since 1988. Now of course Joc is not by himself fully responsible for the 32 year drought

  4. Joc seems good for the team chemistry . Always cheering and into the game . He is also one of the 2 or 3 Dodgers that show up in the post season . Yah , he is not a complete hitter but still worth keeping if the price is reasonable.

  5. Package him with Pollock, Keibert Ruiz, and Dennis Santana for Mookie Betts. Issues solved…

  6. Folks, if Pederson ends up going to arbitration hearing before he settles on a deal, IT IS A MORAL CERTAINTY that Dodger management will use his abysmal hitting against LHP over the 5 years as their main arguement. But both sides have to look at themselves in the mirror. By that i mean Joc certainly could have done what Bellinger did last year in the off season by working on his craft against LHP.. Bellinger played daily and did pretty well against LHP in 2019 to the tune of 18 HR’s against them. But on the other side of this is Joc simply being kept as a platoon guy no matter what by Roberts and Co.

  7. I’m conflicted on the topic of Young Joc. I feel like I should have some loyalty and faith on him moving forward, but……. I mostly remember feeling untrusting when he would come up to bat in big situations. I’ve grown fatigued with his ‘all or nothing’ approach and results only to see opportunity after opportunity end up in Ks or a harmless dribbler to first base. And unfortunately it doesn’t end there for me. I also find myself cringing when I see something other than a routine fly ball hit his way. And I feel that his arm has become a liability, considering the likes of Puig, Verdugo, Bellinger, Hernandez, and even Taylor. Ultimately I feel that unless he can transition to becoming a dependable situational hitter, our other outfielder options would become better team value propositions.

    Given his recent production, this might be the right time to part ways.

  8. Excuse me for saying, but Pederson is the victim of bad Dodger coaching.

    Some misguided coaches took the training time and trouble to try to turn him into a first baseman. That appeared to be a bit crazy.

    Yet, at the same time, these coaches seem to be disinterested and unwilling to help Pederson hit lefties. Why? There is no reason he should not be able to hit lefties if he had the training and incentives.

    Inadequate coaching of a talented player like Pederson is kind of an insult to the entire concept of player development.

  9. Pederson needs to learn how to hit southpaws. Verdugo is much better agains lefties. Is Joc content coming out after 2 at bats? Trade him while we can get something for him.

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