Joc Pederson signing with Giants shows Dodgers could’ve easily reunited
The Los Angeles Dodgers stole all the headlines late on Wednesday when they inked Freddie Freeman to a six-year, $162 million contract to make their juggernaut lineup even more deadly, clearly sending a message to their competition.
Meanwhile, lost in the shuffle, the San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Joc Pederson to a one-year, $6 million contract, meaning the former Dodger will face LA 19 times in 2022 after helping boot them from the postseason last year.
When the Dodgers attempted to go nuclear before the 2021 season by signing Trevor Bauer and eventually trading for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer, it was evident that bringing back Pederson didn’t exactly fit the budget with their larger aspirations.
But after a campaign in which LA’s depth was exposed on multiple fronts, especially in the outfield, why was bringing back a franchise legend for this cheap not a consideration a second time around? The front office must really not be interested in Pederson anymore.
The Dodgers don’t care to reunite with Joc Pederson, for some reason
No preference for a lefty-swinging fourth outfielder who can also DH and provide some of the best clutch at-bats you’ll ever see? All for the price of $6 million … which is somehow $4 million cheaper than what he signed for last offseason?
Could it have stemmed from Pederson’s comments during the NLCS about how he was treated by the organization when he became a free agent shortly after helping the team win its first World Series since 1988?
Fans will likely hear more when the San Francisco media tries to pry other telling information out of him as the season progresses.
Haven’t the Dodgers noticed the trend, though? Pederson’s heroics were intrinsic to the last two World Series champs. In 2021, LA’s offense largely cratered once it reached the postseason, and though that was largely due to injuries and fatigue, it also had to do with a lack of quality at-bats in the clutch. Once again, Pederson delivered on the biggest stage, but this time it was with Atlanta.
In 79 playoff games (195 at-bats), Pederson has hit .256 with an .814 OPS, 29 runs scored, 12 homers and 29 RBI. If not for his postseason debut against the Mets back in 2015 as well as his dreadful showing in the World Series against the Red Sox, those numbers would be insanely better.
As currently constructed, the Dodgers have the most impressive lineup in the league. But their depth and gumption in tight situations still remains a bit of an issue, which makes it all the more puzzling the team didn’t check in on Pederson at this price.