This off-season figures to be as important as ever for the Dodgers. Coming off another disappointing end to the season, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has expressed his desire to be aggressive in free agency this year. The club has also been mentioned as a potential trade destination for big names who are likely to be available, including Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor.
With the trade rumors in full swing, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand listed one potential trade candidate from each major league club. He gives reasons for each one as well, ranging from age to contract status, to a team being crowded at one position.
Feinsand named Joc Pederson as the Dodgers’ most likely trade candidate this offseason.
MLB's Mark Feinsand is looking at Joc Pederson as the Dodgers' most likely candidate to be traded… He's obviously not their best trade chip, but will he still be on the club in 2020?
— Clint Pasillas (@realFRG) November 16, 2019
Here’s the excerpt from MLB.com that sets up the why for Feinsand.
Pederson recorded career highs with 36 home runs, 74 RBIs, 83 runs scored and an .876 OPS, matching a personal best with a 3.3 bWAR. He still struggles badly against lefties (.505 OPS, one RBI in only 50 plate appearances), but dominates right-handed pitching despite some inconsistency at times.
Now, one of the biggest reasons Feinsand believes the Dodgers should part ways with Pederson is his contract. Yes, the 27 year-old made only $5 million in 2019, but he’s due for a decent raise. MLB Trade Rumors predicts an $8.5M salary next season.
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Pederson earned $5 million last season, his second of three arbitration-eligible years, so he’ll be due a raise in 2020, likely in the $8 million to $10 million range. With one year of club control and a crowded outfield (2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, Alex Verdugo are all returning), Pederson could be a perfect trade chip for the Dodgers to dangle.
For much of last off-season, Joc was mentioned as a trade target by MLB insiders. That was when he had an additional season of control as well. However, with the mostly impressive season he put together in 2019, it’s reasonable to think that his trade value may have evened out for this off-season.
The LA outfield remains stacked and with the club linked to players like Mookie Betts in trade rumors, moving a player like Pederson would free up Andrew Friedman to start exploring a trade for a right-handed bat in earnest
Whether it’s Joc or not, Dodger fans will likely have to prepare to part ways with at least one familiar face this off-season if Friedman decides to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade.