Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL CentralAmerican LeagueAnalysisCleveland IndiansMLB

Dear Cleveland Indians, please go and trade for Joc Pederson.

Credit: Arturo Pardavila II

When the All-Star festivities came to Cleveland last season, the city got to see 27 year old outfielder Joc Pederson hit moonshots into the second deck at Progressive Field, a feat that has been done by very few. Pederson is clearly a talented player, and would be a perfect fit in the Indians outfield.

Overview

Just yesterday, a trade between the Angels and Dodgers that involved Pederson fell through. The Dodgers are trying to get rid of Joc’s contract since they just added the big contracts of Mookie Betts and David Price in the blockbuster three team trade between the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Twins. With this trade falling through, this is a perfect opportunity for the Indians to pounce.

Joc put up the best season of his career in 2019, he posted a 249/.339/.538 slash-line with a career high in both home runs and wRC+, with 36 and 127 respectively. Pederson has not put up a season under 100 wRC+ in his major league career, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

One of the biggest flaws in Joc’s game is facing lefties. It has gotten to a point in which Dave Roberts limited him to only 50 plate appearances in 2019. Pederson slashes .188/.263/.310 in his career versus lefties. While that’s a concerning number, especially with solid lefty arms in the division like Matthew Boyd and Dallas Keuchel, the Indians have the perfect solution: Jordan Luplow.

Luplow is basically the polar opposite of Joc Pederson, as he rakes against lefties and struggles badly against righties. Luplow slashed .216/.274/.299 against righties in 2019, with 48 wRC+. On the other side of things, Luplow had a 1.181 OPS with 198 wRC+. Yes you read that right, Luplow was 98% better than the rest of leagues against left handed pitchers. Platooning Pederson and Luplow in right field would be deadly.

What Would the Trade Look Like?

In the presumed trade that was cancelled between the Dodgers and the Angels, the Dodgers would of received infielder Luís Rengifo and two prospect in exchange for Joc and pitcher Ross Stripling. Rengifo seems to have a future as a pretty decent utility man in the future, with a solid glove and a below average bat. In a theorized trade with Cleveland, it’s highly unlikely Stripling would be involved, so the package from Cleveland would be assumed to be less than the package from the Angels. I could see the package included two decent prospects or some bench level players.

Who Are Some Trade Chips?

The Indians farm system isn’t one of the steeper ones, as it ranks 19th in the league. I could see the type of players that would go to Los Angeles would be MLB ready prospects like Yu Chang and/or Andrew Velazquez. The Dodgers are prioritizing salary relief over an incredible return, and I think those two would be good enough players who’s presence won’t be missed too much in the organization.

Conclusion

Pederson is due to $7.75 million next season, and it’s hard to know whether the front office’s penny pinching ways will get into the way of a potential deal happening. If the Indians are serious about being competitive this year, this move is a must. The offense has been the main flaw of the Indians throughout the last 5 years, and this would potentially bring the lineup into the best shape it’s been over that stretch.