With both the Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes coming to conclusions, baseball fans can now anticipate free agency to speed up. The Phillies did not acquire either player, keeping them in the hunt for the remaining players on the market.
There are plenty of quality players that still are free agents, and a guy like Joc Pederson can be exactly what the Phillies need.
President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has said they are just going to be filling out the edges on a team that truthfully doesn’t need a whole lot. Whether that was Dave telling the truth or putting up a smoke screen, the Phillies have yet to do anything at the major league level outside of re-signing Aaron Nola.
One of those edges is a right-handed corner outfield bat. While he isn’t a right-handed bat, one guy comes to mind.
Joc Pederson was not on my radar when thinking about players the Phillies have a chance to sign. Still, after he posted a picture to Instagram of him hugging the Phanatic with the caption “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia” and “Dancing On My Own” playing in the background, my mindset shifted.
Pederson, 31, has been playing baseball at the major league level since 2014, most recently for the Giants in San Fransisco. The numbers weren’t great in 2023, only hitting .235 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 358 at-bats. His defense was also not great, posting a -1.4 dWAR for the season. That doesn’t sound good, but it is an improvement to his 2022 season.
Should the Phillies sign Joc?
In my opinion, the Phillies should sign him.
Dombrowski has said he wants players with championship experience on their roster, and Joc Pederson is just that. Not only were his three home runs in the postseason crucial for the 2021 World Series champion Braves, but he’s a fantastic teammate who would be an incredible fit within the Phillies clubhouse.
He isn’t the righty outfield bat they’re reportedly looking for, and the Phillies have enough left-handed bats as it is, but he’s a perfect bench bat.
What Would the Lineup Look Like?
Joc Pederson would not be expected to play every day, but when he does play, here is what the lineup could look like, give or take a couple of tweaks.
- Trea Turner
- Bryson Stott
- Bryce Harper
- Kyle Schwarber
- Nick Castellanos
- JT Realmuto
- Brandon Marsh
- Alec Bohm
- Joc Pederson
You could switch some players around, especially at the top where it is lefty-heavy, but this is what the Phillies would have to work with on a day Joc Pederson would start. If he were to come off the bench, you could sub him out for Marsh or Rojas, assuming Rojas makes the roster. He can also play first if necessary, but the Phillies have a 2x MVP at that spot who doesn’t take days off if he can help it.
Are the Phillies a Likely Landing Spot?
Last we heard, the Phillies and Pederson had not contacted each other. If Pederson is okay with being a bat that plays a little more than a typical bench bat, I don’t see why the Phillies wouldn’t have a chance.
He could get more playing time on a worse team, so the choice is his to make whether he wants to help a contender or play more for a team that most likely won’t do much in the postseason, if at all.
At the end of the day, Dave is always cooking, and I expect him to make the necessary improvements that get this organization, and city, a parade down Broad Street.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)