The Dodgers optioned Joc Pederson back to Triple-A after acquiring Curtis Granderson. What could it mean for his future?
He was the only and best choice for the demotion because of his struggles and the fact that he plays the same position as Granderson. Michael Wittman believed that Joc should have been given a little more opportunity to find his groove again, and it was a valid point. Well, so much for that.
He has been disappointing this year, batting .215 with a .747 OPS, 11 home runs and a 95 OPS+ (100 is average). The only positive to be taken away from this season is he has decreased his strikeout rate. But even the 25-year-old’s defense has seen a bit of a dip. It’s scary to see this kind of regression from someone so young.
However, this move is in the best interest of both parties, especially Joc’s. The Dodgers get an upgrade in center field along with experience in the form of Granderson. They also get rid of what was an easy out in the lineup by removing Pederson.
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And for Pederson? While he was never expected to hit for a high average, this is just plain bad. He will get the next two weeks or so to work out whatever is going wrong. I say two weeks because rosters expand September 1 so you can expect to see him back then.
However, if he proves that he can’t hit Triple-A pitching these next two weeks either, then maybe he might need more time back in the minors.
Remember, the Dodgers did this with Yasiel Puig last year, and it seems to have worked out for the best. He isn’t lighting the world on fire but has become a highly valuable contributor for a World Series team and helps make an explosive lineup even deeper with his 21 home runs as the eighth hitter.
His defense is as elite as it gets and should have him as the Gold Glove favorite in right field. But most importantly, he was humbled by the demotion and looks to have been “tamed.”
This is not to say that Joc’s character is viewed in the same light as Puig’s was over the past few years. But this demotion will hopefully show him that, while he is young, talented and cheap, his spot is not guaranteed. He still needs to work on his game because the Dodgers aren’t going to settle for a guy who can’t hit over .220, no matter how far his home runs go.
He is not a necessity for LA but in fact a burden. One thing is for sure though: Time for the hype train and high expectations to stop. He has officially hit rock bottom (as of now). He needs to start fresh again.
Pederson needs to get his confidence at the plate back, and Triple-A should allow for that while giving him a mental break at the same time. The next six weeks will give the Dodgers a better idea of what they have in their center fielder and whether he has a role in their future. He should take the trip to Oklahoma City as a reset button and start from scratch because he can sure use one.