Where will Joc Pederson play in 2020? Ranking six landing spots after Dodgers-Angels trade falls through
Pederson, a free agent at season's end, would make sense for numerous clubs
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins that will land Mookie Betts and David Price in Chavez Ravine. The sides had originally agreed to terms last Tuesday, but those plans had to be altered after the Red Sox objected to what their doctors saw during the medical-exchange portion of the process.
While the Dodgers were able to revive (and salvage) those talks, they were not able to maintain a conditional agreement with the Los Angeles Angels that would have sent out Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling. Rather, .
The Dodgers are still expected to shop at least Pederson over the coming days, and they should be able to attract numerous suitors. After all, Pederson is a quality platoon player who has hit .242/.353/.507 against righties for his career. He'll qualify for free agency after the season, but until then he's likely to represent a bargain given his salary of less than $8 million.
Where might Pederson land if he is dealt before the season begins? Below we've examined six potential suitors, ranked in order of presumed interest. Do note that we're not saying these are the only six teams who might find Pederson appealing, we just have to cap it somewhere.
There's an old saying in football: if a team has two quarterbacks, it effectively has no quarterbacks. You can repurpose that for Cleveland as it pertains to corner-outfield options. Jordan Luplow is useful, but beyond that Terry Francona will be sorting through a cast of interesting, if flawed characters, including Delino DeShields, Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, Bradley Zimmer, and Daniel Johnson. Pederson would represent an immediate upgrade, and would give Cleveland fans something to be excited for after a tedious and boring winter.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
The prevailing theme of the Cardinals' offseason has been shedding their outfield depth, not adding to it. John Mozeliak traded Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, and he later let Marcell Ozuna walk in free agency without signing or acquiring a replacement. (Austin Dean does not count, sorry.) Mozeliak even shopped around Dexter Fowler, according to league sources. If the Cardinals opt to start Matt Carpenter at third base most days, then Tommy Edman could receive ample burn in the outfield. Alternatively, the Cardinals could plug in Tyler O'Neill or Lane Thomas. Mozeliak might be okay with those scenarios, but Pederson would seem like a smart get (and an upgrade) for the reigning National League Central champions.
The Blue Jays have had an active winter, during which they focused on improving their rotation. Hence signing Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark and trading for Chase Anderson and so on. On the position-player side of things, the Blue Jays' moves have been more subtle. Travis Shaw is the only incoming hitter who figures to get significant burn out of the gate. The Jays, then, could justifiably acquire Pederson, who would take over in right field. The one complication here is that Derek Fisher is expected to platoon there with Anthony Alford. Both of those players are out of options, meaning they cannot be demoted without first being subjected to waivers. Perhaps that shouldn't be a big deal -- Fisher and Alford are in the "post-hype" phase of their careers and might pass through untouched -- but teams are careful about letting players slip away.
4. Los Angeles Angels
We're including the Angels because cooler heads tend to prevail. The deal as it was publicly known -- Pederson, Stripling, and a prospect for a package of players -- favored the Angels on paper, and would have helped them move closer toward playoff contention. Perhaps Billy Eppler can convince Moreno to put aside his grievances for the betterment of his team. The Angels should hope so, because Pederson and Stripling would give them a much-needed boost.
Billy Beane and company have had a quiet offseason, with either Jake Diekman, Tony Kemp, or Austin Allen representing their biggest external addition. There's a reason for that: the A's, who no longer receive revenue sharing, are right in line with last year's Opening Day payroll of $92 million. Pederson is modestly priced and would fit well on Oakland's roster, but it's anyone's guess as to whether ownership would permit Beane to push his payroll to $100 million.
The Rangers don't have a true center fielder on their roster, and they could use another quality stick after coming up short on various free-agent pursuits, such as those of Anthony Rendon and Nick Castellanos. Alas, Pederson belongs in a corner-outfield spot, and he's a left-handed hitter. The Rangers have an unbalanced lineup as it is, particularly in the outfield, where Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, and even Shin-Soo Choo figure to play prominent roles. Jon Daniels is more likely to pursue a right-handed outfielder, and one who can play a better center field.
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