Do Andrew Friedman’s latest comments suggest the Dodgers will let Joc Pederson go?
Free agency is here! And it’s incredibly slow and boring. The biggest news yet has been Marcus Stroman accepting the qualifying offer from the New York Mets. Thrilling, really. Otherwise, there’s been no movement.
In any other year, the Los Angeles Dodgers would be at the forefront of the transactions, whether it be budget signings, shrewd under-the-radar trades, blockbuster deals, or mega contracts. But we’ve yet to see any of that as we approach mid-November.
However, president Andrew Friedman provided fans with some free agency insight in terms of what the Dodgers will need and will be looking for. Here’s what he told MLB Network Radio:
"“Adding a reliever or two is something that we’re going to keep an eye on and kind of sift through,” Friedman said. “Really for us, it’s about identifying the talent in a vacuum but also then trying to get as many diversified looks as you can in the pen. This year, we really liked our pen and our pen was a big part of our success…and then I think a right-handed bat. With our positional versatility and flexibility, we have some options on where that possible could fit.”"
LA fans knew this team would need more relievers. Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Jake McGee and Alex Wood are hitting free agency, and it’s unclear if any of them will be back. But as for the right-handed bat … does that mean both Joc Pederson and Justin Turner are as good as gone?
It seems more likely one of them is sent packing. If the Dodgers need a right-handed bat, it’s clear there’s only room for one of these guys, but it seems Pederson is a goner regardless of what transpires.
If the Dodgers keep Turner, that’s their right-handed bat. And then there’s no need to retain Pederson, since the outfield will consist of Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock, with Chris Taylor serving as the fourth man. Pederson will obviously be too expensive for that role.
If the Dodgers don’t keep Turner and go after another right-handed bat, that eliminates the need for both of them. Pederson’s above scenario applies here, and we’re not sure there would be use for Turner if they manage to get someone else they feel can come close to replicating his offensive production.
The Dodgers have a very lefty-heavy lineup, so it’s hard to envision them paying more for Pederson after they tried to trade him last offseason. Turner’s more of a possibility to return, but Friedman could very well go in another direction because the veteran third baseman won’t exactly be cheap, either.
And remember, this team needs to figure out contract extensions for Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager. They won’t be making any unnecessary purchases in free agency with all of those big talks on the docket.