With the Los Angeles Dodgers looking to trade outfielder Joc Pederson, should the Pittsburgh Pirates throw their hat into the ring?
After what seemed like a month of twist and turns, the biggest blockbuster trade of the MLB off-season was finalized on Sunday when the Boston Red Sox traded former American League MVP Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a three team trade. Originally, this trade looked set to go down last week. Part of the original trade there was a second trade that was going to see the Dodgers trade outfielder Joc Pederson, who is now without a starting spot due to Betts, to the crosstown Angels. That trade, however, fell through.
With Pederson still on the market, should the Pittsburgh Pirates look to pursue him on the trade market? Well, it would certainly be worth Ben Cherinton kicking the tires.
Pederson is set to become a free agent following the 2020 season, but this should not stop the Pirates from pursuing him. With a hole in center field, Pederson could play there and, if the Pirates are out of contention in July, be a great trade chip to have at the trade deadline.
Last season Pederson slashed .249/.339/.558 with a career high 36 home runs and .289 ISO. He also posted a 127 wRC+, which was the second highest of his career. All of this led to him posting a 3.0 fWAR which was his highest since 2016.
For his career, Pederson owns a .233/.339/.474 slash line to go with a .242 ISO and a 120 wRC+. While his 24.2% strikeout rate is higher than you would like to see, his 12.3% walk rate is above league average and can make Pederson a strong top of the lineup hitter, evident by how often he has bat lead off for the Dodgers in recent seasons.
Adding Pederson to the Pirate lineup could also give them one of the best 1-4 in the National League Central with Kevin Newman, Pederson, Bryan Reynolds, and Josh Bell. It could potentially be a strong 1 – 5 with a healthy Gregory Polanco, too.
As a left-handed hitter, Pederson would also set to benefit from PNC Park. The Clemente Wall and short porch in right field is a left-handed pull hitter’s dream. In his career Pederson has pulled the ball 44.8% of time, which would make PNC Park a great fir for him.
Due to this, at PNC Park, Pederson could post monster numbers. As a result, this could make him one of the most highly sought after bats at the July trade deadline. This could help Cherington as he looks to restock the Pirate minor league system.
Adding Pederson could help the Pirate lineup in 2020, while also making himself a great July trade chip. With the Dodgers looking to move him due to a logjam of outfielders, the Pirates should get involved in Pederson trade talks.