Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago reports that the Chicago White Sox have talked with the Los Angeles Dodgers about a deal for Joc Pederson to bring him to the south side.
Pederson, 27, is coming off a very good season for the Dodgers in which he hit .249/.339/.538 with career-highs in both homers (36) and RBI (74). That gave him a 127 wRC+ and 3.0 fWAR for the 2019 season.
The left-handed hitter and fielder spent most of his season in the corner outfield spots, but did have a brief stint where he started at first base for the team.
In 789 2/3 outfield innings, Pederson rated above-average with a 6.2 UZR and 11 DRS according to FanGraphs.
The only spot in the outfield that he hasn’t fared well is in center field where he has -16 DRS and a -7.1 UZR for his career (3,149 innings).
For the White Sox, he could help fill out an outfield that is expected to have Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert patrolling left and center field before the end of April.
In the article by Duber, it’s mentioned that the team is also considering signing Nicholas Castellanos to play right field in 2020, but there is one major difference between the two that should make the team prefer Pederson.
Castellanos is a pretty dreadful defender with -35 DRS and a -26.2 UZR in right field for his career.
While he has seen some improvement from that number with only -9 DRS in 2019 over 1,171 innings, there is still some serious work to be done for him to become a league-average defender.
Pederson, meanwhile, would represent an improvement for the team defensively and considering they ranked 25th in all of baseball in DRS (-49), they could certainly use a plus defender.
Furthermore, the team is only projected to have two left-handed-hitting options in their lineup in Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal (both switch-hitters) which means that Pederson could help balance the lineup more.
Now, the reason to not pursue Pederson would be if a trade for him requires giving up too much to acquire him.
That being said, Pederson only has one year of control left before hitting free agency for the first time in his career after the 2020 season.
According to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, Pederson is expected to make $8.5 million in his final season of arbitration.
Having only one year of control strongly limits his value in a trade and given the Dodgers have a glut of outfielders, it makes little sense not to trade him this offseason.
On top of it, the White Sox have a very strong farm system which should help in finding a match that is good for both sides.
If the White Sox can acquire Joc Pederson for a reasonable price, he should be their top choice to fill their right field vacancy in 2020.