The Cubs are signing free agent outfielder Joc Pederson to a one-year deal.
Pederson has been linked with several franchises. He arrives in the Windy City, joining a roster facing considerable turnover. Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber have departed. Kris Bryant could yet be traded away.
His role will be similar to Schwarber’s. The similarities are clear. Both are dodgy defensively, but both possess great raw power. Pederson’s free agency has been fascinating as a result. He is a true specialist, a player who does not excel in the field and will get minimal plate appearances against lefties. Pederson is a pure righty smasher, and he’s absolutely phenomenal at it.
As we covered in our preview of his free agency, Pederson is one of the best hitters against RHP in all of baseball. The Cubs getting a player of that pedigree for just $7 million is already one of the deals of the offseason.
Pederson’s platoon status
Jeff Passan broke the contract details. Passan added that the Cubs plan to use Pederson every day. It makes it a great situation for Pederson. If he can prove himself as an everyday bat, he could be in for a massive payday in 12 months’ time.
Platoon hitters are in a strange situation. They are assigned such a restricted role for a reason, but there’s a lot of evidence to show players who are platooned will struggle even more. Pederson has a .576 OPS against lefties for his career. The question for Chicago: How much can that improve with more reps versus southpaws?
Schwarber was heading for around $10 million in arbitration. He received that amount from the Nationals. While it looked like the Cubs were being cheap with Schwarber, this Pederson deal suggests otherwise. Pederson for $7 million when Schwarber gets $10 million is an extraordinary deal.
In an extremely passive National League Central, this is the sort of signing which could make a massive difference.