The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to move from former top prospect Joc Pederson, as reports surfaced Sunday morning the reigning National League Champions were looking to trade the outfielder to the Chicago White Sox.
With Ken Rosenthal reporting yesterday that the Dodgers were in contact with free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock, it’s no surprise the LA is looking to move Joc Pederson out of their crowded outfield.
The 26-year-old exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 2015, hitting 26 home runs, but leaving more to be desired with his nearly 30% strikeout rate and an average OPS of .763. But, the Dodgers saw some more promise in Pederson in 2016, improving his OPS to .847, saw a slight improvement in strikeouts, but still managed to clue 25 home runs.
Pederson is all launch angle, as his career home run/fly ball rate is a hair under 20 percent (19.2 percent), meaning he is either smacking the ball over the fence or hitting 295 feet pop-ups. He’s the stereotypical boom or bust type player that the Dodger were hoping could develop into a more complete hitter, but with his so-so defense and power, Pederson seems to be destined for the American League.
The White Sox, who lead the league in strikeout percentage last season, are still in rebuild mode at the moment – pending any Manny Machado signing on the South Side. So while Pederson doesn’t necessarily give them anything they don’t already have, a power bat that loves to strikeout, the 26-year-old outfield has shown a slight improvement in the strikeout department. Pederson finished last season at 19.2 percent, an MLB career-best for Pederson, and nearly a 10 percent decrease from his rookie campaign.
While it isn’t a sexy move, moving Pederson for one of the White Sox’ slew of pitching prospects is a low-risk move that both clubs could benefit from. The Dodgers main goal is to clear up space for their top prospect Alex Verdugo.
For the White Sox, they move one of their underperforming pitchers to see if Pederson can elevate his game and provide the Sox with some needed offense. Pederson is slated to make $5 via arbitration this season and is under team control for another year, so they could non-tender him after the 2019 season if they feel he isn’t working out.
Fansided’s very own Jason Kinander reported the news first has a few names to consider that could be apart of the deal, also mentioning that Daniel Palka could be regulated to a bench/platoon role if this deal does happen.
Kinander tweeted later saying that White Sox GM Rick Hahn was hesitant to move 3B Bryce Bush after his encouraging first season as a pro.
It’s a low-risk move for both teams as the Dodgers are in the midst of their championship window and don’t have the time to wait much longer for Pederson to reach his full potential. While the White Sox are still a few years away from Championship chasing and can afford to take a risk on a player like Pederson while they evaluate their minor league talent. A win-win move for everyone – except maybe Pederson who would go from playing on a World Series club to playing for one of the league’s least talented teams in the White Sox.