Jan. 28: The Braves have also “discussed” Pederson, tweets David O’Brien of The Athletic. He’s clear to add that there’s no indication any talks between the two sides have gotten particularly far at this point.
Pederson would give the Braves a potential replacement for fellow free agent Marcell Ozuna, who is likely seeking a lengthier and more lucrative deal than Pederson after performing brilliantly in 2020 on a one-year, $18MM deal. There’s likely room in the payroll for either player — particularly if an Ozuna deal were to be backloaded a bit — but the current Braves regime has generally leaned toward shorter-term deals.
Pederson would likely require a platoon partner with the Braves (for reasons noted below). Speculatively speaking, Austin Riley could fill that role by moving to left field against southpaw starters, with Johan Camargo filling in at the hot corner on those days. The switch-hitting Camargo is a career .286/.337/.506 hitter when he bats from the right side of the plate.
Jan. 27: Former Dodgers outfielder and current free agent Joc Pederson’s time in the National League West might not be over yet, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants are “talking to” the 28-year-old. He joins the previously reported Jackie Bradley Jr. and Eddie Rosario as left-handed-hitting outfielders on the Giants’ wish list.
In signing with San Francisco, Pederson would reunite with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who was the Dodgers’ general manager from Pederson’s major league debut in 2014 through 2018. Pederson was largely productive during that time and in the season after Zaidi’s departure, and though he struggled in the Dodgers’ World Series-winning campaign last year, there is no doubt he has been a solid offensive presence throughout his career. Across 2,517 plate appearances, Pederson has batted .230/.336/.470 (118 wRC+) with 130 home runs, including at least 25 in four seasons. Granted, Pederson has done the extreme majority of his damage versus right-handed pitchers, against whom he owns a 128 wRC+. For comparison, he has put up a paltry 59 wRC+ against southpaws.
San Francisco performed better than average off righties last year with the majors’ ninth-best wRC+ (107), and their outfield already has two lefty corner options in Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson – who each had huge seasons in 2020. On paper, there may not be a clean fit for Pederson unless he emerges as a regular in center, where he hasn’t played extensively since 2017, but that isn’t stopping the Giants from at least kicking the tires.