In the wake of yesterday’s acquisition of Curtis Granderson, the Dodgers appear set to demote fellow outfielder Joc Pederson. There hasn’t been any official confirmation of the move, but various beat writers noted earlier today that Pederson’s locker was empty, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has seemingly confirmed the decision, telling reporters (including the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett on Twitter) that a stint in the minors will give Pederson an opportunity to “reset” while he works on changes to his swing.
As our own Jeff Todd noted yesterday, the Dodgers’ acquisition of Granderson gave them a wealth of outfield options, also including Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Cody Bellinger. Bellinger in particular bats lefty, as Pederson does, and figures to take some playing time in the outfield with Adrian Gonzalez returning from the DL.
The 25-year-old Pederson has been a fixture in the Dodgers’ outfield for the past three seasons and looked to be emerging as a core player after a strong 2016, but he has struggled badly of late, hitting a mere .127/.250/.309 in the past month and batting just 2-for-25 over the last two weeks. He’s also dealt with concussion issues and a groin injury this season. He has not played in the minors, other than in rehab assignments, since the Dodgers selected his contract in 2014. Notably, Pederson entered the season with two years and 28 days of service time, so there’s some chance his demotion could result in the Dodgers being awarded an extra year of control before he reaches free agency. It seems likely, however, that they’ll recall him when rosters expand in September, which would keep Pederson on track to become eligible for free agency following the 2020 season.