The Chicago Cubs have started their trade deadline fire sale. The club has traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves for first base prospect Bryce Ball, both teams announced. Pederson will help replace Ronald Acuña Jr., .
Pederson, 29, is hitting .230/.300/.418 with 11 home runs this season, including an uncharacteristically poor .218/.285/.442 against righties. For his career, the lefty swinging Pederson owns a .236/.343/.495 batting line against righties and a feeble .203/.278/.314 line against lefties. He's spent most of his career in left field.
The Braves are currently without Acuña and also Marcell Ozuna, who is out with a finger injury and is awaiting an investigation under MLB's domestic violence policy. Following the Acuña injury, Atlanta was looking at some combination of Ehire Adrianza, Abraham Almonte, Orlando Arcia, Guillermo Heredia, and Ender Inciarte in the outfield.
Atlanta went into the All-Star break with a 44-45 record -- they have not spent a single day over .500 this season -- and they're four games behind the Mets in the NL East. Because the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres are so good, the division title is likely the only way the Braves can reach the postseason. The wild card is not a fallback plan.
The Cubs have lost 19 of their last 25 games to fall out of the NL Central race. They were expected to sell at the deadline and the Pederson trade confirms it will happen. Free agents-to-be like Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Davies, and Craig Kimbrel are most likely to be moved prior to July 30.
Ball, 23, is hitting .207/.354/.396 with six home runs in 53 High Class-A games this season. Our R.J. Anderson listed him as a prospect to know in Atlanta's system coming into the season, saying "his ability to walk and bop should give him a chance at a big-league future, and perhaps a notable one at that."
Pederson is still owed approximately $2.2 million of his $4.5 million salary this season. He'll be paid another $2.5 million if the Braves decline his $10 million mutual option is after the season, which they are expected to do.