Cubs: Joc Pederson looks like he’s ready for the best year of his career

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Boy, if what Joc Pederson has done this spring is any indication of what’s to come, the Chicago Cubs might have made the move of the offseason in signing him to a one-year, $7 million deal that includes a $2.5 million buyout of a 2022 mutual option.

On Friday, Pederson belted his sixth and seventh home runs of the spring, boosting his Cactus League OPS to a ridiculous and MLB-best 1.377. His seven long-balls lead all NL players and ties Bobby Dalbec of the Red Sox for the spring lead.

Of course, for those of you who could actually watch the Marquee Network broadcast, you were treated to a mic’d up Anthony Rizzo ‘calling’ Pederson’s first blast.

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"“Oh, Joc, I told you that pitch was coming,” Rizzo said on the bench. “That’s what happens when you know what pitches are coming, you know what I’m saying?”"

Let’s hope Rizzo lets Pederson know what pitches are coming all season long. Because if he keeps hitting like he has this spring, he’s not only poised to be the Cubs’ best offensive player – but one of the most productive hitters in all of baseball.

Cubs: Pederson looking to make his mark

Coming off a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 2020, Pederson came to Chicago for the opportunity to play every single day, regardless of whether a righty or lefty is on the mound. He’s done everything to earn the trust of his new skipper this spring, with Friday’s showing the cherry on top of his remarkable run.

Last season, Pederson really struggled, batting just 190/.285/.397. Given the depth the Dodgers enjoy, it’s not hard to see why they let him walk this offseason. But now, he’s got the opportunity to establish himself as an everyday player – and potentially make his former team pay, amidst expectations Los Angeles will defend their title in the Fall Classic at season’s end.

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Pederson couldn’t have made a better impression on Cubs fans. With a monster spring drawing to a close, he’ll have the chance to deposit some souvenirs in the bleachers at Wrigley – where fans will be back to watch the North Siders for the first time since 2019. If he keeps this up, he’ll have his own fan club in left field in no time.