The Dodgers can replace impending free agent slugger Joc Pederson with this switch-hitting free agent.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are no doubt riding high after snapping their World Series drought, but the celebratory vibes will unfortunately have to end at some point in the near future, as a busy offseason awaits president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the rest of the front office.
For starters, a number of key players — including Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez and Pedro Baez, among others — are all set to hit free agency. Given that the Dodgers are projected to have the highest payroll ($166.4 million) in MLB for the 2021 season, it simply isn’t feasible for them to re-sign that foursome, regardless of other teams’ spending flexibility being restrained because of the pandemic.
In our eyes, Pederson is almost guaranteed to leave, as Los Angeles agreed to send him to the Angels back in February as part of the Mookie Betts blockbuster before the original terms of that deal were modified. On top of that, the former All-Star is 28-years-old and deserves the chance to cash in on a lucrative contract.
In the event that Pederson seeks greener pastures, the Dodgers would be smart to look at Athletics free agent outfielder Robbie Grossman as a potential replacement.
Landing another slugger capable of replicating Pederson’s numbers just isn’t going to be possible for the Dodgers. While his batting average always left a lot to be desired, he more than made up for it by posting a respectable OBP and socking at least 25 home runs in four of his seven seasons with Los Angeles.
Grossman doesn’t flaunt that sort of power, but he would add a much-needed switch-hitting dimension and patience to the Dodgers lineup. Over eight years in the majors, the 31-year-old vet has a career .252/.350/.380 slash line with 50 home home runs and 254 RBI. Given the market, he likely wouldn’t demand a ton of money, and that should fit right into Los Angeles’ wheelhouse for this offseason.
Grossman enjoyed perhaps the best season of his career in 2020, setting new highs in OPS+ (130) and SLG (.482). He also impressively smacked eight home runs in just 51 games, which is just three short of the career-high he set back in 2016 with Minnesota across 99 contests. Further, he flaunts a 77.2% stolen base percentage over the last two years, so he would add even more speed to the Dodgers bench.
MLB.com listed Grossman as a top-25 free agent based on projected WAR for 2021, and the Dodgers would be out of their minds not to make him one of their top priorities this season. There’s already plenty of power in LA’s lineup. Adding somebody who can do a little bit of everything is the way to go, and Grossman fills that bill.