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Should Dodgers Have Kept Kiké Hernández, Joc Pederson, Verdugo? Former Role Players Having Great Postseasons



At the end of the 2020 season, it was clear that the Los Angeles Dodgers were not going to make Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson a part of their future. It was always extremely unlikely that LA would re-sign the two popular Dodgers.

The writing was on the wall with Hernández and Pederson who were both seeking roles as everyday players and the team looking to give former top prospect Gavin Lux a runway at second base as well as giving Zach McKinstry a shot as their utility man. Hernandez ultimately agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox on a two-year, $14 million deal and an opportunity to be in the lineup every day. Hernández had a solid regular season with the Red Sox where he posted a 107 OPS+ while hitting 20 home runs, but in the postseason, he’s swinging the bat like an MVP.

Hernández is 16-for-32 with a 1.608 OPS and leads the league with five home runs and four doubles. Meanwhile, Pederson went on to sign a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs worth $7 million guaranteed, where he was eventually traded to the Atlanta Braves in mid-July. Like Hernández, Pederson has turned it on in the postseason and has proved once again that ‘Joctober’ is very real. The All-Star has hit three home runs, including the longest home run of the postseason. Joc’s 454 ft. game-tying bomb that he hit off Max Scherzer in Game 2 of the NLCS, had some Dodgers fans wondering why LA didn’t do more to try to keep him in Blue.

We discuss if not having Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson could hurt the Dodgers’ chances of going back-to-back and why bringing them back just never made sense for the team. Plus, with Verdugo also catching fire this October, should the Dodgers have considered including Gavin Lux instead of Alex Verdugo in the trade for Mookie Betts?

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Written by Doug McKain

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    • 4Life….

      I always loved Kike, both on the field and the clubhouse/dugout. Pederson, not so much…. Verdugo was a tough loss, but you have Betts.

      Again, it goes back to Management and what they could offer not only money wise, but playing time…

      What does Orel think, Dave….. I’m on to you!

  1. Kiki and Joc wanted more playing time. The Dodger roster and Robert’s preference to platoon people didn’t fit their desire.

    Dugie was part of Mookie Betts deal, you have to give something to get something.

    Really miss those guys especially now but we gotta move on.

    • Scotty, I’m painfully aware of all you said. My contention is that it was an organizational failure to not provide at least Kike (more so than Joc) the opportunity to be that everyday player he so wanted to be, given his Proven Postseason record AND multi-position gold glove defense (can’t say the same there about Joc who failed at an attempt at 1B). Sorry that will forever go down as the BIGGEST FO BLUNDER IN HISTORY!

      It’s not like the Dodgers didn’t know what they had! Kike only hit 3 HR’s in one game in an NLCS vs the defending WS champ Cubs in 2017, in a clinching game! Had a couple of monster HR’s last year as well.

      I’ve said this ad nauseum, certain guys just turn it up a notch come October! And some (sorry AJ) just wilt.

  2. I really thought this article was dumb from the getgo – just click bait. 4 reasons for my critique

    1) Joc had every chance to be our CF, then our RF, then our LF then our 1B. But he couldn’t hit lefties, and his D got worse year after year. He wanted full time player money and he exhausted all of his opportunities with the Dodgers. Happy for him he’s doing well.

    2) Kike was given numerous chances to be the 2nd baseman so he could play everyday. He failed at that; seems to me he performs better when in the OF. Doesn’t anyone remember 2020? Having said that he is like Chris Taylor in that he can play and seems to thrive playing different positions, which the Dodgers value highly. But he was going to get big bucks elsewhere, turned down the Dodgers offer and got the big contract. Happy for him as well

    3) Alex – this one really got me. Love Alex, but he was traded for Mookie. Great trade, even saddled with Price and his boat anchor of a contract. Do that trade ANYDAY. Mookie is great!

    4) Dodgers needed another ace and went out and overpaid for Bauer. Couldn’t sign Joc and Kike and spend close to $40M / year on Bauer.

    There you have it – no reason to revisit these 3 former Dodgers and wish upon a star

    • Joe, very well put…wonder how AF is feeling about signing the human dumpster fire! Nice vetting!

  3. It’s a bummer that they are all somewhere else. You can’t sign everyone to long term deals. Like Scotty said, “You have to give something to get something.”

    • No doubt. But you have to recognize who the true postseason performers are! No other way around it. If you don’t, well, we are seeing what happens.

  4. Kike and Joc wanted regular playing time and Dodgers and the platooning didn’t appeal to them,like Scott was saying. I do know that Mckinstry, Souza, McKinney were nowhere close to the players Kike and Joc were. Bench this year was sort of a sore subject on this team. Yes I wish they would have met what Kike wanted especially but IIWII. Offense took a hit with those 2 guys leaving , but no DH hurt as well. Too many times a pitcher has come up to bat in key situations this year and couldn’t really answer the bell with the exception of urias of course.

    • Joc was a limited one dimensional player, not really as big a loss as Kike. Kike only signed a 2 year deal (not a long term contract) at just over half the salary of playoff loser Pollock! Hello.

      • 4Life…

        Agree….

        Joc just had an attitude. Was he not raised like Todd Marinovich? I know a few college players who had to deal with Joc’s dad. They were not impressed….

        I’d add to Pollock… McKinney, Sousa, that Asian dude…. all played full time when acquired via waivers….. a massive mistake by Roberts.

  5. Should have kept Joc and Kike. Hell, they kept a number of automatic outs: McKinney, McKinstry, Barnes, Sousa, etc.!!! Verdugo for Mookie: no probs! No offer to JP:criminal! I suspect the same scenario may play out where Seager is concerned. Would be a major mistake.

  6. When Kike and Joc are in their late 30s and made more money…they’ll come back to the Dodgers on one-year deals so they could retire properly

  7. I absolutely concur (and many of us said so at the time.) Joc-tober definitely performs during playoffs but left a bit to be desired, even defense-wise, during the regular season. Kike I felt was a mistake from the word Go but the Dodgers did not want to play him regularly. Now Verdugo was part of the Mookie deal, and as much as I liked him, the Franchise made the right decision. All I can say is that I am glad that Joc’s pearls weren’t working for him last night.

  8. In retrospect the should kept Kike.

    They could have kept verdugo, and signed harper to a long term deal instead trading verdugo for betts and other garbage.

    They should should have held on to yolando alverez instead trading for a career minor league fireballer.

    Kike, Verdugo, Harper, Alvarez in place of mckinney, souza, betts, pujols. I take that any day.

    An embarrassment of riches when you add Lux and mckinstry.

    Now if they could have also found a way to hold to that catcher ruiz…

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