Joc Pederson’s name has been raised in recent trade rumblings, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that Los Angeles isn’t close to any deals involving the 26-year-old outfielder. The Dodgers may have lost a suitor for Pederson recently when the Braves re-signed Nick Markakis to a one-year contract with a club option, and for the time being, Pederson looks like he’ll be a key part of L.A.’s attack against right-handed pitching. As Rosenthal notes, the Dodgers’ signing of A.J. Pollock was fueled partly by an internal belief that the team would struggle against left-handed pitching. Pollock figures to line up as the team’s primary center fielder, with Cody Bellinger seeing some time there, in the outfield corners and at first base. Pederson, too, gives the Dodgers a potent weapon against righties, though he’s dreadful historically against lefties — which wouldn’t be as much of a concern (if he is retained) with Pollock in the fold.
Here’s more from the division…
- The Diamondbacks are still looking to add to the bullpen this offseason, general manager Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. It has been a rather quiet winter in Phoenix outside of the franchise-altering trade sending face of the franchise Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis. As the D-backs have worked to pare back payroll and embark on something of a soft reset, they’ve made some small-scale moves such as the signing of Wilmer Flores and Merrill Kelly (on top of the MLB-level talent added for Goldy). Plus, of course, the club kicked things off by re-upping Eduardo Escobar just before he hit the open market. Plenty of chatter has focused on the team’s remaining potential trade candidates, particularly in the pitching staff, but it’s not clear whether much possibility of tht remains. Regardless, it seems prudent for the organization to pursue some relief arms, given the course it has taken to this point. Presumably, any ’pen additions would be of the measured variety, as the Snakes gear up for what looks likely to be a still-competitive but mostly transitional year.
- Meanwhile, Nick Groke of The Athletic takes a look at a sleepy Rockies offseason, which has mostly involved the replacement of the departing DJ LeMahieu with Daniel Murphy. In the subscription piece, Groke describes the Rox’ participation in the market thus far this winter as “an empty freezer more than a hot stove.” The diagnosis, it seems, is a fairly simple one: the club simply doesn’t have the payroll space to pursue more aggressively further upgrades to its lineup. It really is a tricky spot, as the club as presently constituted seems a clear second to the Dodgers in the division. At the same time, there’s a clear opportunity to press ahead due to the vulnerability of the remaining NL West pack and the fact that this is the final season of control over star third baseman Nolan Arenado. It’s largely unclear whether GM Jeff Bridich will find a way to further boost the club’s sagging offense this winter, though it seems fair to presume he’s still looking for the right angle — be it a trade or (hopefully) high-value, low-cost free agent acquisition. Boosting the mix behind the plate and in the outfield would make sense on paper; whether it’ll prove feasible remains to be seen.
- The Giants have far greater uncertainty in their own outfield, though the club is also in quite a different overall stance. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, new president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi expressed confidence that the organization would have a suitable slate of outfielders when the time comes. In a statement that helps explain the Giants’ position as well as the overall trajectory of the free agent process, Zaidi explains: “As long as we feel there are good options out there by trade or free agency, the actual pulling of the trigger becomes a little bit less relevant as long as you feel you have some good leads, which I think we do. You don’t want to get in a situation of urgency or even panic.” With the San Francisco organization likely to eschew major, multi-year pacts this winter, it’s certainly understandable that they intend to exercise more patience. It’ll be interesting to see what opportunities might present themselves.