As it currently stands, the Pittsburgh Pirates are thin when it comes to major league outfield talent.
To begin the 2021 season, Bryan Reynolds and Gregory Polanco will more than likely man two of the three outfield spots. If the Pirates do not add another outfielder this offseason, the likes of Anthony Alford, Cole Tucker, and Jared Oliva will all have the opportunity to take the third spot. Although Travis Swaggerty could make his major league debut in 2021, there is no chance that he makes the team out of Spring Training.
What if Polanco and Reynolds struggle again like they did in 2020? What if Alford isn’t the real deal after his incredible 13 plate appearances with the Pirates last season? What if Tucker never hits? And what if Oliva is nothing more than a fourth outfielder? Simply put, the Pirates need to add.
I would like to see the Pirates pursue Joc Pederson.
On MLB Trade Rumors, it is predicted that Pederson will sign a two-year deal worth $18 million (albeit with the St. Louis Cardinals). Even for the Pirates, this would be an affordable contract. Last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 28-year-old outfielder hit .190/.285/.397 over 138 plate appearances. In 2019, he slugged 36 home runs and had an OPS+ of 127.
Why this makes sense for the Pirates
As stated above, the Pirates need an outfielder. They also desperately need to add power. Pederson would take care of both of those problems while also providing the Pirates with a middle of the order bat. Defensively speaking, Pederson isn’t great. He also hasn’t played in centerfield regularly since 2017.
Last season, the Pirates sacrificed offense for defense when they signed Jarrod Dyson. Perhaps it is now time to sacrifice defense for some pop, even if it costs more. Plus, if Pederson joined the Pirates, he would most likely play in PNC Park’s spacious left field. He would also provide the Pirates with a decent trade chip.
Why this makes sense for Pederson
Let’s face it. Pederson has never been more than a complementary player on the stacked Dodgers. He has never had a season in which he’s surpassed 600 plate appearances.
That would not be the case in Pittsburgh. With the Pirates, Pederson would get all of at-bats. He would be the focal point offensively. If he produces, he could leave after one year and sign a better contract elsewhere.
Will it happen?
Probably not. Although Pederson would arguably be the best player if he were to sign here, he would also have to accept the fact that he plays for one of baseball’s worst teams. It would also be extremely surprising to me if he didn’t have offers elsewhere to both get regular playing time and make more money.
The only way I see Pederson coming to Pittsburgh is if it were on a one year deal. This deal would also have to be an overpay.
And as we know, the Pirates don’t do that.