It feels like this is my fifth time writing this article, or something close to it at this point. But the Dodgers have a decision to make on Joc Pederson this year, and it’s a tough one.
Talk about bad timing. I don’t think it could get any worse than having someone in a contract year during a pandemic-shortened season. That’s exactly where the Dodgers find themselves with Joc though, and they have to decide their future with him by August 31st.
In all likelihood, this will be the last season Joc spends with the Dodgers. Even if they don’t try to resign Mookie Betts in the offseason, there isn’t much room on their roster for guys that can only hit right-handed pitching, no matter how much power comes with it. With that in mind, let’s go through the pros and cons of offloading Joc Pederson.
Cons of Trading Joc
The obvious loss in trading away Joc is that the Dodgers would miss his power potential. Joc has combined for 61 homeruns over the last two years and likely would finish with 15 or so during a 60-game season. The designated hitter is coming to the NL this year, and Pederson could benefit from that.
Aside from the pop, the Dodgers don’t lose much by trading Joc away. At his best, Pederson gets on base by walking a lot and hits a lot of bombs. At his worst, he strikes out a whole lot and hits bombs. The list of cons for trading him away is admittedly short.
There is a certain clutch side of Joc Pederson that is often overlooked though. He seems to come up in big situations and own those moments. I’m thinking of moments like the 2016 NLDS when he took Max Scherzer deep in game 5 or even the entire 2017 World Series. That clutch factor would certainly be missed by Dodgers fans should they decide to let him go.
Reasons to Trade Joc
The Dodgers could greatly benefit from trading Joc away, as much as it pains me to say. This is the final year before he gets to hit free agency, and he would normally get a pretty decent offer from other teams looking for some pop. An AJ Pollock type of offer wouldn’t be a surprise in a normal year, but we’re obviously not in the middle of a normal year.
Joc will likely make somewhere in the range of $10m to $13m annually, putting him out of the Dodgers’ price range. With plenty of outfield options available on their current roster for far less than that, trading him for a decent return seems ideal. Matt Beaty, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Luke Raley, and a few high-level prospects will likely make up the outfield should the team pivot away from Mookie.
What the Dodgers would get in return is completely unknown given the state of baseball at the moment. But if the Dodgers could get a decent prospect arm for Pederson prior to the trade deadline, they should absolutely jump at it.
Overall Likelihood of a Trade
Everything about the 2020 season is so unprecedented that you can’t really begin to guess what will happen. Will teams even be willing to take a risk? Or maybe more teams will feel like they are in the playoff hunt, making more teams buyers by the deadline. The Dodgers already tried to move Joc to Anaheim, so do you feel they will try to do so again?