Dodgers: Joc Pederson’s comments on free agency really make LAD look bad

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 19: Joc Pederson #22 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring during the 4th inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 19: Joc Pederson #22 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring during the 4th inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ lack of depth has clearly been hurting them this postseason. However, nobody saw Max Muncy going down for October in the last game of the regular season, which really upended their plans.

Then again, they clearly could’ve used a fourth outfielder instead of believing Zach McKinstry and Matt Beaty would take integral next steps to deliver the same production as some of the other guys they let walk in free agency.

One of those players? Kiké Hernández, who is making MLB postseason history with the Boston Red Sox. But the other, more relevant one at the moment? October legend Joc Pederson, who has abused the Dodgers in the NLCS so far as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

In four games against LA, Pedrson is hitting .313 with a homer and four RBI. Across this postseason, he has three total HRs and nine RBI. And the Dodgers didn’t want to hold onto him at a somewhat bargain price in 2021 after he helped win them a World Series in 2020?

Guess not! And Pederson commented on that after the Braves’ Game 2 win.

Here’s what Andy McCullough of The Athletic (subscription required) reminded us about the situation:

"“[Andrew] Friedman told Pederson how much he meant to the franchise. Then Friedman explained why the current structure of the roster meant Pederson would have to play elsewhere in 2021.“’Basically,’ Pederson told The Athletic on the ground floor of Truist Park after Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the message was “we’re not going to be in on you.’”"

This isn’t anything new. We were aware the Dodgers told their impending free agents that they wouldn’t be brought back. But when you look at the fact the Dodgers spent over $100 million on internet troll Trevor Bauer, had minimal outfield and infield depth, and then had to spend big at the trade deadline to address both their rotation and lineup, it makes you wonder why they didn’t entertain keeping at least one of these proven hitters.

Pederson was the obvious choice, too. Hernández made it clear he wanted a starting role and more playing time. The Dodgers couldn’t offer that. But Pederson wanted to stay in LA. There was a need for him in the outfield considering AJ Pollock hardly ever stays healthy. And like we said, their fourth options were totally unproven.

Turns out, Cody Bellinger’s awful 2021 and Mookie Betts’ injury troubles would’ve given a lot of reps to Pederson, and manager Dave Roberts would be using him in big spots right now to get back to the Fall Classic.

It’d be nice if we could get a greater explanation from the Dodgers here, but we probably won’t. What’s done is done. Now the Dodgers will be battling with Bauer over his remaining $63 million as Pederson continues to make them pay in other ways. That’s a lot of debt to have hanging over your head.

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