Joc Pederson is proving the Chicago Cubs made the right choice

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

In his first offseason at the helm of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, Jed Hoyer made a highly controversial decision to move on from fan favorite outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Under the Theo Epstein regime, Schwarber was always supposed to be a part of the core, but Hoyer decided to move in a different direction in left field after years of inconsistent play from the former first-round pick.

This was a risky call. Even though Schwarber never fully lived up to expectations, he still had stretches where he flashed his tremendous power and was always a better fielder than given credit for. Hoyer had to make sure he found the right successor for Schwarber, and his solution wound up being Joc Pederson.

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Pederson always flashed enormous power against righties but had never fared well against lefties – similar to Schwarber. But the Cubs believed he could be their everyday left fielder, and after tearing up Arizona in the spring, Pederson over Schwarber seemed to be the right call.

To put it mildly, the 2021 campaign did not start out very smoothly for Pederson. The second the regular season hit, the player we saw during the spring disappeared. The offense, as a whole, was flailing at the beginning of the year, but Pederson, in particular, seemed to be utterly lost every time he stepped in.

The Chicago Cubs, not seeing any other options at the time, placed him on the IL to try and hit the reset button. Ever since Pederson came off the IL, he’s been a completely different player and the rest of the offense has benefitted as a result. The stats for the former Dodgers outfielder before and after the IL stint have shown the night and day difference, as well.

Chicago Cubs, Joc Pederson are hot while Kyle Schwarber struggles

The Cubs have been one of the best offenses in baseball ever since Pederson came back, and when you look at Schwarber’s numbers this year along with the Nationals offensive numbers as a whole, it’s clear that Hoyer made the right choice. Schwarber is currently slashing just .216/.308/ .412with a .720 OPS while Pederson has slashed .250/.320/.459 with a .779 OPS after his dreadful start to the season.

Pederson has been a big catalyst for a Cubs team that currently sits in first in the NL Central while Schwarber has struggled on a team that looks poised to sell in a weak NL East. It may not have seemed like the right call early on, but this is one decision we can say the front office got right.

It was tough to say goodbye to Schwarber at the time. But the reality is the Cubs had to try and make a big change to the lineup in order to fix an offense that had been broken for a couple of years. Now, they’ve found a solution in Joc Pederson.

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Schwarber simply never lived up to the expectations the organization had for him and Chicago made the call to make a move. The organization made some big and potentially questionable moves over the winter, but moving on from Schwarber in lieu of Pederson was the right call.