Cubs: Don’t sleep on what Joc Pederson could do for this team

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The end of the offseason is upon us, with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp this week. The regular season is looming and soon enough Opening Day will be upon us.

Though it is rather late in the offseason, the Chicago Cubs front office has made it clear that they are not done making moves just yet. Ideally, the North Siders will fill their second base and starting pitching needs before they take the field this season.

But let’s focus on the moves the team has already made this winter. There are a few signings, in particular that stick out. One of those signings is that of Joc Pederson. Arguably one of the biggest, if not the biggest signing of the offseason for the Cubs despite its short-term nature, the Pederson signing helped Chicago replace Kyle Schwarber in left field.

Schwarber, 27, was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs in December and became a free agent after six seasons in Chicago. He was in his final year of arbitration, but the Cubs let him go after he hit just .188 with 11 homers in 59 games of the abbreviated 2020 regular season. After being non-tendered, Schwarber signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals.

Since Schwarber was gone, Pederson was a great acquisition to fill the open left field spot. When the signing was first announced, many fans questioned it. Many also might argue that bringing Pederson onto the squad wasn’t an impactful move, and it was just as if Schwarber returned to the team. I’m not of the same mind. I think the Pederson move is really underrated.

Joc Pederson could be a key piece for this Cubs team

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Looking at the big picture, Pederson does have similar numbers to Schwarber. Additionally, he also excelled primarily against right-handed pitching. Like Schwarber, Pederson struggles against lefties but this is something that he will be able to work on, especially since the Cubs are giving Pederson the chance to be an everyday player. Plus, unlike the Dodgers, the Cubs are willing to give him the chance to improve.

During his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pederson slashed .238/.349/.501 over 2,132 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. However, since Pederson struggled against southpaws, he was not given many plate appearances against them. Against lefties, he slashed just .191/.266/.310.

Between both his power and his work ethic, Pederson has a chance to improve upon this in 2021. Besides this, from his piece for The Player’s Tribune, it seems as if Pederson was very excited to sign with the Chicago Cubs. One night as hewas in bed in early winter, he turned to his wife and decided that he wanted to be a Cub.

"“I turn to (my wife Kelsey) and I say, ‘Shoot— I figured it out,” he wrote for the Player’s Tribune. “I’m gonna play for the Cubs.”"

The next morning, Pederson put his plan into action, connected with Jed Hoyer, and ended up signing a one-year deal for a guaranteed $7 million, with a mutual option for 2022. Not only is Pederson’s enthusiasm a key factor, but he also has postseason experience that would strongly benefit this clubhouse.

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With the Los Angeles faithful dubbing October “Joctober,” Cubs fans are ready to embrace this new face. Hopefully, Pederson will be able to embrace his everyday role in Chicago and will find further success in 2021.