Braves: Joc Pederson needs to be a top free agent target

Braves Joc Pederson

I’m not sure what happened between Joc Pederson¬†and the Braves. He opted out of his mutual option, and there were no reports regarding any contract negotiations. He then signed for less money to play for the Giants (one-year, $6 million). Perhaps Pederson was dead set on returning to the west coast where he’s from, but it’s hard to believe he had no interest in running it back with Atlanta considering all the glowing remarks he’s had towards the organization and city since joining the Giants. But if there is any chance he might want to return to the southeast, he should be a top free agent target for the Braves.

If it wasn’t Joc Pederson’s decision, and the Braves didn’t make an aggressive run at re-signing him, I’m sure it is something they regret. Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario have been brutal, and Adam Duvall wasn’t much better before going down for the season with injury. If it weren’t for the emergence of Michael Harris, the Braves outfield would be in shambles. Meanwhile, Pederson has been brilliant for the Giants, earning All-Star honors.

In 116 games this season, Pederson is hitting a career-high .269, and he will once again flirt with 30 homers. Not to mention, we all know what he brings to the table from a clubhouse perspective.

Looking ahead to the offseason, the Braves don’t have many holes to fill. Their top priority will be re-signing Dansby Swanson. They might need to find a Charlie Morton replacement, and they could always upgrade the bullpen. But figuring out their left field situation is a must.

Vaughn Grissom is an option. Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario are also under contract, but bringing Pederson back would make the position much more secure. The Braves could use Joc Pederson strictly against right-handed pitching, whether as a left fielder or DH. I’m sure the Giants would like to bring him back, and I’m not sure Pederson is interested in returning to the east coast, but perhaps Anthopoulos can work his magic again and convince him to return to a city that adores him.

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