Braves: Travis d’Arnaud credits Joc Pederson for turnaround

Joc Pederson

Of all the trade deadline acquisitions brought in to provide outfield help, Joc Pederson has been the least productive on paper. His .747 OPS — while still serviceable — is by far the lowest of the four, and it’s not like he’s some type of defensive stalwart either. As a result, he’s been relegated primarily to pinch-hit duties as the Braves fourth outfielder, limiting his everyday impact. However, that doesn’t mean his acquisition was any less significant. As Travis d’Arnaud pointed out following yesterday’s critical win over the Phillies, everything began to turn around once Pederson arrived in Atlanta.

I’ve stated several times over the years that the reason the Braves always exceed expectations during the regular season is because of their immaculate vibes in the clubhouse. From 2018-2020, nobody had more fun coming to the ballpark every night. These guys genuinely love playing with each other, which shows throughout a 162-game grind.

Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons — early struggles, Marcell Ozuna‘s domestic violence dispute, Mike Soroka and Ronald Acuña’s devastating injuries — those exquisite vibes around the clubhouse dissipated. The Braves just couldn’t get over the .500 hump, and there was no reason to believe things were going to turn around, which is why the move to trade for Pederson well before the trade deadline might have been the most genius of all.

Pederson brought pop to a Braves lineup that desperately needed it at the time, but most importantly, he gave the clubhouse life again. I’m also a firm believer in statements made by the general manager. When everyone assumed the Braves were going to sell leading up to the trade deadline, Alex Anthopoulos showed faith in this group, pulling the trigger on an early trade. From that moment, everything changed. Now, the Braves are just a couple of wins away from clinching their fourth consecutive NL East title — a position nobody thought they would be in a couple of months ago.

Credit to Joc Pederson for galvanizing what seemed to be a lifeless clubhouse over the first half of the season, but I give even more credit to Alex Anthopoulos, who realized what this team needed and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Had he waited to make this move, the Braves may have never had the opportunity to acquire the likes of Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario.

 

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