Way back earlier in the MLB offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers were rumored to be interested in former Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson as a free agent. Are they still interested and could a deal happen?
It was the first day of the Winter Meetings and a notes column from Ken Rosenthal said the Brewers had some level of interest in signing Joc Pederson, along with the Cardinals and White Sox. The White Sox then signed Adam Eaton to take themselves out of the running for Pederson.
The Cardinals haven’t done anything to fill the hole Pederson would take and neither have the Brewers. Since, there has been reports that Pederson would also interest the Nationals but they signed Kyle Schwarber instead.
So is the market really just the Brewers and Cardinals for Pederson? Likely not, as other unreported teams are likely to have some varying level of interest in the left-handed slugger.
But if a big market doesn’t materialize for Joc Pederson, the Milwaukee Brewers could get him at a bargain price.
Kyle Schwarber getting $10MM from the Nationals might bode well for Pederson, but the fact remains that Pederson is best used as a platoon option going forward while Schwarber is likely to play every day. That will cut the value of whatever Pederson might get.
Factors In A Brewers-Joc Pederson Pursuit
While contract values might line up between the Brewers and Pederson, it’s all for nothing if the Brewers don’t know where to play him. Pederson has spent most of his career as an outfielder, and the Brewers don’t exactly have any openings there, so the plan would have to be to put Pederson at first base.
Previously, the Dodgers tried to experiment with Pederson at first base and it didn’t go well. But perhaps with a full spring training to work on his defense over there he could be a serviceable option at first. The Brewers would have to be quite confident he could handle the job with a focus on improving his defense and ensure his bat could still be productive.
Another hindrance to a possible Brewers-Pederson connection, is that the Brewers would need to get a right-handed platoon option for first base as well. Pederson is horrid against left-handed pitching and the Brewers would once again need to sign two players to handle one position, which will cost a lot more than signing just one, at least if you want two decent players. With the limited payroll space in 2021, that might not be the best course of action.
Of course, all of this is dependent on what happens with the DH in the NL, which we still somehow don’t have a concrete answer on. If there is no DH next year, the whole point is moot because Daniel Vogelbach is already on the roster and is a left handed hitter, so a righty platoon option would be necessary for him and Pederson would add no value to this roster.
If there is a DH, then the Brewers can just stick Vogelbach there and go after full time solutions at first base, whether that’s with a platoon of Pederson and someone else or one guy that can play every day.
We won’t get further clarity on the Brewers plans at first base until we get clarity on whether or not the Crew will have a DH at their disposal this season. This whole market is going to be at a standstill until that decision is made, and once it does, then we might see an avalanche of signings across the league.
We’re still in wait-and-see mode regarding Pederson and regarding the DH. The Crew’s first base issue won’t be solved until a decision has been made about the DH and for that reason Pederson is languishing on the free agent market.