The Chicago Cubs are clearly not going to spend big this offseason, but a cheap flier on Joc Pederson might pay off well.
The Chicago Cubs are in cost-cutting mode this offseason, but they do have holes to fill. On that note, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, they’ve agreed to a deal with outfielder Joc Pederson.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the deal is a one-year deal worth $7 million, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting an additional $500,000 available in incentives. Sherman also adds there’s a mutual option for 2022.
How Joc Pederson fits with the Cubs
Pederson has spent his entire career to this point with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had a rough shortened 2020 campaign, with a .190/.285/.397 slash-line, seven home runs and 16 RBI. But he was far better in the postseason, with a .382 batting average (13-for-34), two home runs and eight RBI.
The left-handed hitting Pederson profiles as a platoon bat, with a career OPS of .849 against right-handers vs. a .576 OPS against left-handers. The Dodgers have the depth to deploy players in the most optimal situations, to the point Pederson has seen just 60 plate appearances against lefties over the last two seasons. But Passan has suggested the Cubs will give him the opportunity play every day.
The Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, who then got a favorable deal from the Washington Nationals. He and Pederson are easy comps, as left-handed bats who hit right-handers better and aren’t stellar defensively-though Pederson has been better than Schwarber in left field. The Cubs are getting Pederson at the same cost or a little bit cheaper than Schwarber would have come via arbitration this year too.
Pederson has also posted a career OPS (.806) just 10 points lower than Schwarber’s, in a far more pitcher-friendly home park as well as two tough road parks in San Diego and San Francisco. So the Cubs are making a calculated bet that Pederson will deliver a rebound season. And he’s going into a favorable situation where he can have a nice rebound campaign, then hit the market again next winter.