The Dodgers always seem to have a surplus of outfielders and this off-season is no different for the Dodgers. There will likely be at least one move this winter to clear some of the outfield logjam.
Another off-season for the Dodgers, and another off-season where the Dodgers are stocked with a surplus of outfielders. The Dodgers’ outfield currently consists of Yasiel Puig in right field, Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez in center, and Matt Kemp, Chris Taylor, and Alex Verdugo in left field.
Depending on if the Dodgers acquire another player to play second base, there will likely be two moves made this winter to clear some of the outfield logjam. If the Dodgers go into 2019 with a combo of Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor at second base, then there is a chance that no outfielder is moved this winter but that seems unlikely as the Dodgers already showed interest in DJ Lemahieu earlier in the off-season.
Besides Matt Kemp who will be tough to move unless the Dodgers eat most of his remaining salary, the next outfield candidate to be traded is Yasiel Puig, Alex Verdugo, or Joc Pederson. Looking at contracts, Puig is under control for one more season through arbitration while Joc Pederson has two more seasons left of control.
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Alex Verdugo on the other hand has five more seasons of control left through team control and then three seasons of arbitration. This makes him the most valuable to the Dodgers if they truly believe in his ability at the big league level. Verdugo has nothing left to prove in the minors so if the Dodgers don’t see him playing a big role in 2019, they might as well cash in on his trade value while it’s sky high.
Joc Pederson is essentially a platoon player as he has hit just .163 against southpaw pitching over the last three seasons. Although he bats right-handed, Puig has also been ineffective against left-handed pitching with a .217 average over the last three seasons. Puig at least puts up better at-bats against southpaws. Verdugo on the other hand hit .396 against lefties in Triple-A this past season and he hit .277 a season ago against them.
Puig, Verdugo, and Pederson all are capable of playing any outfield spot in a pinch but Puig and Pederson are better at the corner outfield spots. Joc has played centerfield but rated below average for the past few seasons. Alex Verdugo can play centerfield but he too would rate much better at a corner spot. If the Dodgers decide to keep Max Muncy and play Cody Bellinger in centerfield then that will also guarantee that two outfielders are sent packing before next season.
Out of the three the most expendable outfielder of the three is Joc Pederson. Joc is due for a raise in arbitration, has just two seasons of control left, and is only effective against right-handed pitching. Yasiel Puig would be the next most expendable given that the Dodgers believe in Verdugo and plan on playing him next season. When the Dodgers decide to trim down their outfield this off-season, Joc Pederson should be the one who is traded.