Thursday, February 22, 2024

Joc Pederson to sign with Arizona Diamondbacks: NL champions add veteran bat on one-year deal, per report

All-Star outfielder/designated hitter Joc Pederson has agreed to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2025, reports’s Steve Gilbert.

An 11th-round pick out of high school in 2010, Pederson debuted in 2014 and spent the first seven years of his MLB career with the Dodgers. He split 2021 between the Cubs and World Series champion Braves before 2022-23 with the Giants. He was an All-Star in 2015 and then again in 2022. Following that 2022 season, Pederson accepted the Giants’ qualifying offer instead of testing free agency.

Last season, Pederson, 31, hit .235/.348/.416 (111 OPS+) — following the best batting average and OPS+ of his career in 2022 — with 14 doubles, three triples, 15 homers, 51 RBI, 59 runs and 0.6 WAR. Due to a hand injury and sitting often versus left-handed starters, Pederson was held to 425 plate appearances in 121 games last season. 

Though he came up as a center fielder, Pederson should only be used in the outfield corners at this point in his career and he even rates out pretty poorly there. In fact, he started 72 games at DH last season compared to 23 in the outfield. As such, he should mostly just be considered a lefty DH with the capability of filling in at times in the outfield. 

Offensively, though, Pederson can be a nice asset. In 2022, he had 23 home runs and a .521 slugging percentage in 380 at-bats, with many of them coming in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, San Francisco’s AT&T Park. He has enough power to move the needle against right-handed pitching. 

The outfield for Arizona appears to be full with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left, Alek Thomas in center and Corbin Carroll in right. Jake McCarthy could fill in for Gurriel and push him to DH, but otherwise there’s an opening at DH. Thus, it seems like Pederson could play some left field and mostly DH, at least against right-handed pitching.

The defending NL champs have replaced Evan Longoria at third with Eugenio Suárez and now bring in Pederson to replace, in part, Tommy Pham. The duo will add power to a lineup that ranked 10th in the NL in home runs last season. 

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