The Winter Meetings have arrived and some Milwaukee Brewers rumors have begun to pour in.
According to Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column, the Milwaukee Brewers have some level of interest in former Dodgers All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson.
Pederson is coming off a World Series championship with LA and is reaching free agency for the first time. Some other teams that also have interest in Pederson, per Rosenthal, are the Cardinals and White Sox.
Rumors: Joc Pederson with the Brewers?
Pederson, 28, has spent most of his career as an outfielder for the Dodgers. He first came up in 2012, then had a breakout 2013 season, slugging 26 home runs, making the All-Star team, and finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.
It’s been an up and down few years for Pederson. The power has continually been there, hitting 25 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons, including a 36 homer year in 2019.
The Brewers have been looking to add power bats to their lineup, and Pederson certainly qualifies as a power bat. From 2018-2019, Pederson hit a combined .249/.331/.530 with 61 total homers and a 126 OPS+.
However, there are some concerns. First, even in his best years, Pederson generally hits between .245 and .250, and when he goes into a slump, it’s pretty ugly. His 2020 overall numbers were poor, but how much of that was due to the shortened season and no in-game video use?
Another concern is his position. Pederson is an outfielder by trade, and the Brewers currently have $41.75MM on the books for their three starting outfielders in Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Avisail Garcia. There’s not a starting spot for him out there.
Joc Pederson, First Baseman?
Pederson has limited experience at first base, playing 20 games there and logging 149 innings, all in 2019. The defensive metrics don’t rate him highly as a defender, giving him -5 DRS in just a handful of games. He’s much better defensively in the corner outfield spots.
It’s looking likely that there won’t be a DH in 2021, which takes away another possible option. Pederson is a left-handed hitter so a platoon with Daniel Vogelbach also doesn’t appear to make too much sense.
Could the Brewers really be looking at Pederson as a fourth outfielder? Or will they be trying to convert him to a first baseman to use his bat in the lineup everyday. From 2018-19, Pederson played in 148 and 149 games respectively. He can play everyday and doesn’t need a platoon, but finding the defensive position to put him in will be the difficult part for David Stearns.
For a powerful bat, Pederson might be within the Brewers price range, given the large number of players like him on the market. The Winter Meetings are just heating up, and more reports like this will be coming out.