We’ll admit, when Joc Pederson left the Los Angeles Dodgers to sign with the Chicago Cubs, it was tough to see him go.
Joctober’s departure didn’t hit as hard as Kiké Hernandez’s, but it’s never fun to see key contributors — especially those who have delivered in the playoffs — put on a different jersey.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear Pederson feels the same way.
While he expressed that he appreciated president Andrew Friedman’s candor at the onset of free agency, he took a bit of a shot at the Dodgers with his latest comments.
What’s even more puzzling is that … one could argue what he’s criticizing actually made him the player that he is.
"“I just felt a little bit restricted [by the analytics],” Pederson told Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think before . . . I was more free going off more feel rather than analytics. I understand the analytics, and I understand that they work. It’s [not a negative] comment toward them because they’ve been successful, but I think I just am better off with a little bit more feel and being more athletic out there rather than standing in certain spots where they hit the ball the majority of the time.”"
It’s understandable that analytics can get in the way of the game and disrupt the natural flow, but we’re not sure why Pederson wasn’t a fan of the Dodgers putting him in the best position possible to make an out.
After all, this isn’t a guy who was touted as a defensive wizard. He has a career -2 DRS in the outfield (he’s played all three spots) and an over -1.4 dWAR in a system that theoretically helped him succeed defensively. The reason he was a platoon player in LA (aside from his inability to hit lefties) was because of his shortcomings on defense.
He also also below average in his seven minor league seasons, registering a .977 fielding percentage in the outfield. The MLB average, according to baseball reference, has been .984 for quite some time.
But hey, we’ll all learn in 2021 when Pederson is the full-time starter in left field for the Cubs. He’s already made an impression with his trademark lefty stroke, and now he’ll be tasked to prove in another contract year that he’s an above-average defender without the Dodgers’ analytics and alignments holding him back from utilizing his athleticism.
It’s not for everybody. But the World Series champs, who have been the best team in the sport for the last eight years, certainly won’t fix something that’s not broken.