Joc Pederson is coming off his best season as a Dodger and is ready to make a lot of money in arbitration. He can also become a free agent after the 2020 season so this off-season could be a big one in regards to Joc. In this article we’ll take a look at the money Pederson might get in arbitration and what options the Dodgers have if they don’t want to pay that amount.
What Might He Get In Arbitration
MLB Trade Rumors projects Joc Pederson to make $8.5M as he goes through his last year of arbitration. The Dodgers have an excellent record of not going through with the arbitration hearing. The last time the team went through with the hearing was in 2007 with Joe Beimel (they won) so they’ve been excellent in getting to agreements with the players.
It’s tough to find a comparable with Joc Pederson as he is quite the unique player. He doesn’t hit much against left-handed pitching and is an average defender. This last season he slashed .249/.339/.538 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with a bWAR of 3.3 and hit a career high of 36 home runs. We’ll look at some previous 5 year arbitration figures from last off-season to look at some comparables (with 2018 statistics as a reference).
- Marcell Ozuna – $12.25M – .280/.325/.433/2.9 bWAR
- Khris Davis – $16.5M – .247/.326/.549/2.9
- Yasiel Puig – $9.7M – .267/.327/.494/2.7
- Corey Dickerson – $8.5M – .300/.330/.474/3.8
- Aaron Hicks – $6M – .248/.366/.467/4.7
- Nick Castellanos – $9.95M – .298/.354/.500/2.9
If Pederson plays hard ball with the Dodgers he might get over $10M. Last year the MLB Trade Rumors estimates tended to be a little low last season, so Joc getting closer to $10M makes sense to me.
One Year Until Free Agency
If the Dodgers don’t like the possible salary for Joc Pederson then they have some options:
- They could not offer him a contract and make him an immediate free agent
- Offer him a multi-year contract
- Trade him
I don’t see releasing him as a real option as Joc was quite productive in 2019. He plays a decent left field and an average right field. He’s also not very good at hitting left handed pitching so he only starts against right handers. He’s also very streaky but when he gets hot he hits home runs in bunches.
Would the Dodgers try to work out a multi-year contract with Pederson? He turns 28 in April so if the Dodgers offered him a 3 year contract then it would take him through his age 30 season. Would Joc accept a 3 year/$24-27M contract? It would provide Pederson with the opportunity to stay with the same team and not have to deal with being traded this off-season.
The risk for the Dodgers just having a one year contract with Pederson is that they would lose him to free agency and probably not get anything in return. I don’t seem him being worth a Qualifying Offer of around $18M which means no compensation for the Dodgers.
Who Would Replace Joc If Traded
Joc Pederson set a new franchise record with 9 leadoff home runs this season. He broke the record set by *checks notes* Joc Pederson all the way back in *checks notes again* 2018.
He now has 20 in his career, chasing Davey Lopes' Dodgers record of 28. pic.twitter.com/6WnJDle54u
— Clint Pasillas (@realFRG) September 26, 2019
If the Dodgers do decide to trade Joc Pederson they would need to find a way to replace him. They have immediate internal replacements in Kiké Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty. Another option is to go with an outfield of A.J. Pollock, Alex Verdugo and Cody Bellinger. Of course that would require Pollock to be healthy. The Dodgers do seem to have enough depth to partially replace Pederson.
Other options to replace Pederson could come in a trade or signing a free agent. Personally, I like free agent Nick Castellanos as he’s a right handed bat that can help provide some balance to the lineup. Nick Markakas or Avisail Garcia are less costly alternatives but is it worth the money to sign those types?
Joc Pederson has had a pretty decent career with the Dodgers. Many fans are divided about him. He’s been miscast as a leadoff hitter for far too long and the expectation was that he would be the center fielder for years. Instead he got slower and became a very mediocre center fielder. He has turned into a decent left fielder who starts and bats leadoff against right handed starting pitching.
I believe there is a 50% chance that Pederson is traded. It happened last off-season with Alex Wood and Yasiel Puig. Of course, the Dodgers did end up with Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs so if the Dodgers trade Joc, I’d hope they get something of real value.
Joc Pederson has been a fixture with the Dodgers and has had some great moments. He’s played well enough that replacing his productivity would not be very easy. This will be a very interesting off-season for Joc. Will we see him in Dodger Blue for the next few seasons, one season or will he be traded?