Despite his absence in the Braves starting lineup for the first three games of the NLDS, Joc Pederson has found a way to make an impact. In case you’ve missed it, Pederson started the postseason a perfect 3 for 3 as the team’s primary pinch-hitter, slugging critical homers in Game 1 and 3 of the NLDS, and then delivering a seventh-inning base-hit in Game 2. Talk about some efficient hitting — the man in pearls has been about as clutch as you can be for Atlanta, and the Braves need to re-sign him.
And I’m fully aware that an amazing small sample from a player shouldn’t always necessitate him being retained. Hell, Pablo Sandoval began the 2021 regular season by hitting three pinch-hit bombs for Atlanta… in a span of ten games! But as we obviously know, no one’s calling for the Braves to bring back the Kung Fu Panda for next year. Yes, Joc’s incredible clutch-ness has helped his case. Who wouldn’t want that guy on their team? But my belief that the Braves should re-sign him this coming offseason is deeper than that.
First and foremost, I should go ahead and make it clear that I do not believe Pederson should be a full-time player. As we’ve seen just in the last several days, he’s at his best when playing in short spurts. However, for the 2022 Braves, a part-time Pederson should work nicely.
As things stand right now, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Marcell Ozuna, the Atlanta outfield for 2022 appears pretty thin.
|Joc Pederson (Mutual Option)||Ronald Acuna Jr.|
|Ehire Adrianza||Cristian Pache|
|Eddie Rosario||Guillermo Heredia|
|Adam Duvall (Mutual Option)|
Now, of course, the table above doesn’t account for any of the team’s current and future depth options or perhaps any of the upcoming prospects (though Drew Waters is probably the only prospect outfielder on the cusp). But as you can see, the Braves again look like they are just an injury away from being in quite the pickle in the outfield. In 2021, surprise contributions from both Ehire Adrianza and Guillermo Heredia really helped, and so have the deadline additions of Pederson, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler; but I think we can both agree that all of those pieces working out the way they did was pretty damn lucky. It very easily could go differently if attempted again.
We know GM Alex Anthopoulos will do something, as an outfield of Acuna, Pache and Heredia certainly can’t be the starting group come Opening Day 2022. And there’s another fairly similar option (in Duvall) that the Braves could opt to go with. Or even both!
With Soler now out for what looks like at least the first several games of the upcoming NLCS, Pederson will no doubt have his opportunity to make his case for being retained even stronger. Either way, re-signing Joc Pederson seems like a given at this point.
Thanks for reading. If you liked this article about why re-signing Joc Pederson has become a given, make sure to check out more from Clint, like one of his latest pieces on why Jorge Soler might miss the entire NLCS.