As always, the MLB trade rumors have emerged with the start of the offseason. For the Dodgers, the first piece to go may be young slugging outfielder Joc Pederson.
Los Angeles Dodgers‘ outfielder Joc Pederson had an electric World Series would have resulted in a World Series MVP, had the Dodgers won. Pederson was 6-18 with three home runs, two doubles, five RBIs and a 1.344 OPS. If anyone could have won the World Series MVP for the Dodgers, there would be no better suitor than Pederson.
Pederson is an energetic enigma that seems to fuel this team with every softball swinging home run. Although he is not the biggest producer, the hits he does have seem to always come in huge moments. Yet, every single time, Pederson surprises the fans with an over the top home run trot.
While Pederson’s World Series performance was great and all, at the end of the day, it did not warrant him or his team any accolades. The Dodgers still lost the series in seven games and Pederson cannot join the 60 men prior to him to win the honors.
Instead, Pederson’s hot World Series may have done one thing: made him easier to trade. While Pederson is a lovable character on the Los Angeles Dodgers and a fun presence in the locker room, he has lost his footing in the Major Leagues.
However, Pederson did raise his trade value with his World Series performance. With long-term implications in mind, Andrew Friedman’s front office may look to capitalize while they can.
There are several trade targets that are likely on the Dodgers’ radar this offseason. Giancarlo Stanton certainly is one, Chris Archer is another. Both deals will require some farm talent additions, but both will also need big league talent thrown in as well.
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With Pederson’s stock at an all-time high (still relatively modest, keep in mind) he can be thrown into that trade. Simply put, the Dodgers have another guy to do Pederson’s job and he could even be better at it.
That man is the 23rd best prospect in baseball — according to MLB Pipeline — Alex Verdugo. Verdugo is left-handed, can play anywhere in the outfield and although he cannot hit for as much power as Pederson, has a much smoother swing that can lead to a .300 average in the big leagues.
Pederson’s will fill in as a platoon outfielder for the Dodgers next season. Whether he is in left or center depends on the team’s plans for Chris Taylor. Verdugo will be a great platoon option but even could make his case for the everyday role. Verdugo hit .317 against right-handed pitchers in AAA last season and .280 against left-handers. Again, his sweet stroke naturally finds gaps.
Verdugo is likely in line to take Pederson’s spot anyway. Thus, the Dodgers may look to get something out of the slugging left-hander. With some proper tweaking and the right situation, Pederson can be a viable power hitting option in the big leagues again.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have the perfect gap-to-gap hitter than can develop into a top of the lineup talent. As sad as it would be to see Pederson go, it may only be a matter of time.