According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Dodgers are shopping outfielder Joc Pederson, could he be a possible fit for the Toronto Blue Jays?
The Dodgers have reportedly spoken to the White Sox and Braves about a possible swap, however, Joc Pederson could be an offensive upgrade over Kevin Pillar and only turns 27 this spring so he still fits the Blue Jays youth movement.
Although Pederson still comes with flaws, the outfielder has hit 25 or more homers in three of the last four seasons in Los Angeles. The former 11th round selection hit .248/.321/.522 with 25 round trippers and a 2.3 WAR rating in 148 games last season. He also bats from the left side which would be a welcomed addition to the Blue Jays lineup card.
Pederson was an All-Star in 2015 while also finishing 6th in NL Rookie of the Year voting during his rookie campaign. The Dodger has MLB experience at all three outfield positions and already has appeared in 43 postseason games in his first five seasons in the majors.
Pederson is set to earn $5 million in 2019 and won’t get a sniff of free agency until 2021 so he could be a worthwhile venture. The outfielder would undoubtedly come with a price tag but at least he would remain in the fold for three seasons.
In 2018, Pederson totaled 126 weighted runs created (wRC+), just for comparison sake, that total bested any Blue Jays player output last season. Justin Smoak had a team-leading 121 wRC+ while the remaining were as follows: Randal Grichuk 115, Kendrys Morales 108, Teoscar Hernandez 107 and Kevin Pillar 89.
The 26-year old also had a .273 isolated power average last season, compare that to the Blue Jays totals of Grichuk .257, Hernandez .229, Smoak, 216, Morales .189 and Pillar .174. Pederson could slot into the middle of the Jays order and provide protection for rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. once the slugger makes his debut.
The acquisition would make Pillar expendable and open for a trade, which I still think there is a fit in Atlanta for Pillar, the Braves are desperately seeking an outfielder and Pillar has familiarity with general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Who knows if the Jays brain trust has any interest in Pederson, but he does appear like a trade candidate worthy of exploring if the price is right.