St. Louis Cardinals: Joc Pederson would fit well, but won’t be cheap

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 20: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers plays first base in the game against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 20: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers plays first base in the game against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals likely won’t add through the free agent marketplace but haven’t ruled out trades. For the outfield, Joc Pederson is a great fit.

This has almost become a tired game of guesswork. Playing GM can be fun but oftentimes these articles can be dismissed with a simple “oh the St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t do that.” However, I do believe that in the instance that one of these many hypothetical trades and or signings do happen, I feel like having the prior knowledge about why a deal could be good or bad is important.

If anything else, it’s fun to dream. That is why Joc Pederson would be a good fit for the Cardinals’ outfield.

It’s been well documented that the Cardinals want to give the young kids a chance to play and prove their worth and everything, but it’s impossible that Mo has ruled out all possibilities of trade to improve the outfield.

If Mo was looking at a bigger player to bring in, to be a guy who could be that cleanup threat that the offense needs, look no further than Pederson.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Pederson has been a quietly consistent player in his five-plus years in the league with the Dodgers. As an All-Star and sixth place Rookie of the Year finisher in 2015, Pederson hit 26 bombs with a .763 OPS. Since then, Pederson has had three years with an OPS of over .800 with his highest coming in 2019 at .876.

Pederson always strikes out a lot with a career 24% strikeout percentage but in the past two years (arguably his best) the key has been a dip in that strikeout rate to the 19-20% range.

Speaking of his last two years, Pederson has been 25% and 27% above average with the bat (well above Marcell Ozuna) and has hit 25 and 36 homers respectively. The interesting thing about the past two seasons is that while Pederson’s strikeout percentage has fallen, his walk rate has fallen too. That reflects a general increase in making contact which has led to an increase in batting average and overall production.

In the field, Pederson was a +6 DRS in left field and +11 in the outfield as a whole. Pederson does have the ability to play any outfield position as well as first base if needed. Under contract until after 2021, acquiring him at this time would be just like the Ozuna trade, except in Ozuna’s case, he had one amazing year of offense surrounded with average years. Joc Pederson has been maturing at the plate and has shown more consistency.

Sadly though, Pederson will have a price tag that is very high. Entering his age 28 season in arbitration, he’s got enough control not to hurt his price and is coming off of his best year.

One thing that may help this move is if the Dodgers acquire Mookie Betts which is apparently “heating up.” The Dodgers currently have Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, A.J. Pollock, Kike Hernandez and Matt Beaty in their MLB depth chart and if they add Betts to the mix (oh my will they be scary but) they may be looking to move one of their current guys.

Honestly, I would think the Dodgers would want a similar package that the Marlins got for Ozuna. That’s a hefty price tag but Pederson has been really good and would do wonders for this lineup.

Therefore, I would say the package for Pederson would have to be a Randy Arozarena, Ryan Helsley mix with maybe another 10th-20th ranked prospect too. That gives the Dodgers a viable bullpen/rotation option in Helsley and a replacement for Pederson. Should the Dodgers get Betts and have no interest in an outfielder back in return, then that package would have to be restructured. The point is, Pederson won’t come cheap.

The biggest problem with Pederson is that he is pretty susceptible to left-handed pitchers. Given the type of pull-happy lefty he is, it makes sense too. In 2019, Pederson had a .920 OPS against righties and a .505 OPS against lefties…ouch. The Dodgers have done a good job limiting his opportunities against lefties, letting him hit just 50 of his 500+ at-bats against southpaws.

That’s something to take into account, but it doesn’t do much to diminish his value in my eyes. I’m still all for him.

Next. New decade, same Cardinals?. dark

Pederson hits for a lot of power and has been under the radar in the great Dodgers lineup. It’s time for him to move into the limelight in St. Louis. He is exactly what the Cardinals have said they wanted and fills a good role: a left-handed power bat that can protect Paul Goldschmidt and play good defense.