Dodgers Should Not Trade Joc Pederson or Alex Verdugo

The off-season was filled with all sorts of rumors about the outfielders for the Dodgers. With the trade of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp it was originally thought that they’d have an outfield of Joc Pederson/Enrique Hernandez in LF, Cody Bellinger in CF and Alex Verdugo in RF. There were also rumors that Bryce Harper might be signed. In January they signed A.J. Pollock to play CF and said that Bellinger would mostly play RF. Some have suggested trading either Pederson or Verdugo and I was originally in favor of trading Joc. I have changed my mind.

Keeping The Depth

When it was discovered that Andrew Toles was not going to be reporting to camp on time the depth didn’t look so deep any more. The current players on the 40 man roster who are major league capable in the outfield are Pederson, Verdugo, Chris Taylor, Pollock, Kiké and Bellinger. That is a good set of outfielders but subtracting one with a trade or by injury makes the team much thinner as either Taylor or Kiké will be playing 2B. The best free agent outfielder is probably Adam Jones but I don’t think the Dodgers offer what he would want; a full time job. Any other free agent outfielder either isn’t very good or offers the versatility the Dodgers desire.

Joc’s Terrible Spring

As of this writing he’s hitting only .059 with an on-base percentage of .190 while slugging .235. Last year in Spring Training he slashed .148/.246/.259 and had fans clamoring for him to start the season in AAA. The Dodgers kept him on the Opening Day roster in 2018 but he started with a slash line of .190/.306/.310 by April 24. He soon got on track and had a pretty good season, finishing with a slash of .248/.321/.522. I have confidence that Joc will end up with similar numbers in 2019 as he faces mostly right-handed pitching. It will depend on if the Dodgers show the same faith in him that they had in 2018. If they do then he will end up starting on Opening Day.

Verdugo Is Ready

As Brook Smith wrote, Verdugo is ready to break out in 2019. He’s had more than enough time in the minor leagues and has had a pretty decent spring so far, slashing .300/.286/.686. I’ve also seen some good at bats against left-handers and some two-strike hits that drove in runs. He can play all outfield positions pretty well and has 3 years of low salaries and 6 years before he can become a free agent. He should provide good value to the Dodgers for a long time and I expect him to be a very good player.

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The Trade Market

Although Joc is an accomplished major league hitter and Verdugo is a highly regarded prospect the trade market isn’t very hot for them. The market for mostly corner outfielders is not very good. For a player like Joc who only plays LF and hits just right-handers there isn’t a great need for other teams. He is most valuable to the Dodgers and, with his slow start, they’d be selling low on Joc. That is not a good idea considering the lack of depth in the outfield. For Verdugo he would have a higher value with his lower salary and team control. He also is more versatile and can hit all types of pitching. However, the easiest talent to acquire is corner outfielders so I doubt they can get full value for him. If either were to be traded I would expect the Indians or White Sox to be likely destinations.

Playing Time Distribution

We can probably guess the following:

  • The Dodgers will platoon Joc
  • Pollock will get nicked up a bit and will probably make at least on trip to the Injured List
  • Bellinger will play some first base especially if Max Muncy plays some second base
  • CT3 will play some shortstop at the beginning of the season due to Corey Seager not being rushed
  • Kiké will play a lot of second base, especially with CT3 playing some shortstop

Just by looking at the above list there will be plenty of playing time available to all those who can play outfield. Given the depth of the Dodgers and the fact that every player on the roster is capable of being a full-time player, the Dodgers need to get everyone enough at bats. This should not be a problem as circumstances seem to always work out the at-bats issues.

Final Analysis

As currently constructed, the Dodgers have just enough players that can give the outfield a quality player in every inning. Trading Verdugo or Pederson would create an unneeded weakness. Some might say that D.J. Peters would be an option but he needs to prove himself in AAA first. There are some other non-roster options like Cameron Perkins, Ezequiel Carrera and Paulo Orlando. I see them as AAA depth, not Major League depth but one could turn out to be the next out-of-nowhere candidate for 2019. For now, let’s keep the outfielders we have as it is a strength of the team. In terms of playing time, Verdugo can and will earn it.

A Note

I also hope that Andrew Toles is going to be well and I wish him the best. I’m sure he is missed a lot by his teammates and coaches. Any consideration of baseball is secondary to his health and well being.

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  1. First yes we all wish Toles a good resolution to whatever is affecting his life.

    Do not trade Verdugo that would be very shortsighted however I disagree Pederson is a one dimensional player. He has lost most of his speed and plays just an average defensive outfield. And he has proven to be an easy out against left handed pitching.

    Verdugo I firmly believe will be a very good player can play centerfield and has a cannon of an arm. Let Verdugo get the majority of at bats if they keep Pederson I would use him as a pinch hitter against right handed pitchers. I personally would bring up Peters or Orlando. Both are very good defensively and Orlando would give the team real speed.


  3. I would not be surprised if Joc is used in a trade with other Dodgers in a deal for Kluber. At present, I see Verdugo in right, Pollock in center, and Joc/Max/Kiki/CT3 platooning in left. This platooning scares me : as nice as team depth can be, it can also be a pain. Go Blue!!

    • Sorry Lou but the Dodgers are rich in starting pitching there is no way they trade for Kluber. Plus it has been reported the Indians want Sale type return which no one is going to give them.

      I am fascinated that people keep mentioning they want the Dodgers to trade or sign free agent pitchers when that is the strongest position. While Kershaw is out Stripling steps into the Rotation and you have Urias and Ferguson after that. PS Stripling made the AS team last year. Urias has hit 98 mph on the gun and has a 4 pitch repertoire. And Ferguson learned to throw his curve with more depth last year and his spin rates are very high. Why get another rotation guy when the team is rich with them? Makes no sense and I am sure the Dodgers are not going to make a move for a starter unless offered an unreal return on a trade and that is not going to happen…

      • Tmaxster- you high?? The SP “rich” Dodgers couldn’t use Kluber??? CK is ALWAYS hurt. JU is a ? And we are hoping RS repeats last year. Fingers crossed that WB IS for real. If the Dodgers can somehow get Kluber, they MUST make it happen. You see the pitching woes the last two WS by any chance? Pen gets taxi way too much!

    • Exactly, BLUE LOU! Platooning most often results because players are noticeably weak against either LH or RH.. Verdugo, from what I gather believes Dodgers OWE him a starting spot no matter what based upon his minor league work. But he, like anyone else MUST EARN IT, not think it should be handed to him.. LOU, I am also not sure Indians are even considering moving Kluber at this time.

      • AZUL, I certainly agree with you about Verdugo : he is not owed a position based on his small amount of work!!!! As you and tmaxster state, and I think correctly, is that we do have pitching depth to spare. However, I still believe in the Joe Torre adage that a team can never have enough pitching. My main concern is the platoon issue : it just irritates me no end. We could field a new lineup almost every day for a month!!!! I think we need to field the best team every team, and make judgments and adjustments from there. Go Blue!!!!

        • Blue LOU! I share your feelings about platooning . It is done or was done last year because Puig and several Dodgers yet again struggled against LHP. Verdugo says he is just as good against LHP as RHP but let’s remember that either pitching is much tougher and advanced up in the MLB. All in all my view is seeing a Dodger team that’s still too LH heavy.

  4. There are pluses and minuses to all trades. Pederson has shown more power than Verdugo at this point of their careers. Verdugo is rated as a better OF than Pederson. Like the article states, teams are more apt to prefer Verdugo because, he is younger, economical, and years of team-control. I don’t want to trade Verdugo if I had a choice.

    • Olddodgerfan from one old fan to another completely agree with you!! The lack of situational hitting drove most of us crazy last year. The inability of this club to score a man from third with NO OUTS was inexcusable. That Roberts made excuses for his guys not being able to bunt or put the ball in the air to move a man over made me hope they would find another manager.

      They will never win a WS if they cannot move a man over or score with a man on third and less than two outs. Pitching is dominant in the playoffs and you must score when you have the opportunity.

      • tmaxster – I wonder has situational hitting, specifically with the Dodgers, been replaced by “launch angle” hitting where every “punch and Judy” hitter such as Taylor, Hernandez, perhaps Muncy thinks he’s a homerun hitter versus what they truly are a base-hitter? I know the espn commercial “chicks dig the long-ball” especially not bunting when the opposing team’s 3rd baseman is off the line playing like a SS.

      • Correct on these points, tmaxter. However, besides the situational hitting that needs definite improvement if we are to ever again reach and WIN A WS, the pitching, both starting and relieving MUST give up less HR’s, which we have found on many occasion to put team in a bad position because right of the bat, they have to play catch up. Many many games during the 1st month and a half last year were lost (especially close games) because the SP’s and or the relievers served up game winning long balls. IMHO that Must be improved

  5. Don’t give up on Joc yet. Spring training stats are Not reliable, but injuries Are, and Joc is one of the few players Not to be injured since he joined the team, as I recall.

  6. I do agree that we should not give up on Verdugo, but the guy is an every day player and it is almost a shame that he hasn’t been given the opportunity play on a regular basis. But like you said, someone is bound to get injured and having depth is important. In regards to Joc I do think it is time to trade him, but what is he even worth in this market? Probably not much compared to Verdugo. I say hold onto these guys for now, but when the time comes and the right trade is in place, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers bite the bullet and trade one or both.

  7. Can someone please explain the statement above that says “”Alex Verdugo (owner of one of just 10 hit tools graded 65+)?”
    Verdugo apparently feelings entitled to a spot in the line-up if we just look at “the numbers,” but if we look at his MLB numbers so far, they are not that good.