White Sox rumors: Dodgers again, this time Joc Pederson

Joc Pederson (Dustin Nosler / Flickr)

This week is SoxFest week, if you can believe it.

Part of the calendar confusion is for a good reason. Todd Steverson’s Arizona minicamp usually didn’t collide with SoxFest, but this year 13 White Sox prospects are heading back from a potentially life-changing trip to the Dominican Republic.

Steele Walker continues to show his 70 quote tool, whether it’s in that James Fegan story …

“It’s an experience of a lifetime,” said last year’s second-round draft pick Steele Walker. “You come to a place like this, you help the kids out, you go to an orphanage, you do all these things, you see a culture you’ve never seen before, you’re going to leave impacted more, a lot of the times than the people you actually saw. That’s what I’ve experienced. First time out of the country, obviously I’m going to remember it forever. Hopefully I made a difference in kids’ lives, people’s lives, but they definitely made a difference in mine.”

… or this one about Eloy Jimenez.

Steele Walker, in the friendliest way possible, takes a question about whether Jiménez’s skill level jumps out to him in practice as a challenge to his baseball acumen.

“Does it jump out to you?” Walker asks in response.

Well, yeah.

“Then it definitely jumps out to me,” Walker said, laughing. “Did you see the home run he hit yesterday over the center-field wall? Come on, bro. I didn’t even want to see that. I didn’t need to see that. Good for him, though.”

But the greater source of disorientation is … you know. Manny Machado. Bryce Harper. The second-tier free agents waiting for Machado and Harper to sign somewhere so they can sell themselves as serving a similar purpose for a fraction of the commitment. The guys like Dallas Keuchel who play an unrelated position but still remain on the market.

In accordance with the prolonged free agent timeline, guys like Joc Pederson are still being dangled on the trade market, as opposed to part of a firmed-up roster.

The White Sox and Dodgers have matched up on trades before, but not for players of a higher profile. While guys like Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu have been described as potential targets for rumors that fizzled out, they’ve instead connected on more lesser names like Luis Avilan and Manny Banuelos. That Pederson revised his swing with newly appointed White Sox hitting analytics instructor Matt Lisle is a novel development, but also one that could give a rumor more heat than it actually has.

(For what it’s worth, Jon Heyman says the Braves have talked to the Dodgers about Pederson, so perhaps the Sox are caught up in a very wide net.)

Pederson showed up on a couple rosters of our Offseason Plan Project because he might be considered expendable by his current team. He also plays center field — at least nominally — and does damage from the left side, even if left-handed pitching eats him alive. That’s a great combination for the White Sox, with only his relative lack of team control (two arbitration years) keeping him from being a perfect fit for what figures to be a digestible price.

But perfect is the enemy of the good and the White Sox are neither, so I’d be for it — at least assuming the Sox are also intent on landing Machado. With Machado, a multi-year solution like Pederson becomes far more effective, regardless of him merely meeting the bare minimum for “multi-year.” Without such a win-now booster rocket of a signing, acquiring a Pederson type would still be viewed more about who the Sox gave up than who they got in return.

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Ted Mulvey

“Sources close to Manny Machado say he ‘grew quite close’ to Pederson during his time with the Dodgers.” — The next baseball tweet on this, probably


The first thing I expected was for someone to dig up a photo of Pederson standing next to Machado

Lurker Laura

Surprised it hasn’t happened yet, honestly.



My sentiments exactly


Does anyone think the Sox would go Jimenez, Pederson, Palka left to right against righties? That outfield would he first team no defense but would mash righties into a paste.


Is Ken okay? How has he not chimed in on this? It’s his dream right?

Trooper Galactus

No, because getting Pederson probably means Palka gets shoved off the 25-man, unless the White Sox believe Jay is the backup center fielder.


I agree. I don’t think they got Jay to be a 4th outfielder. I’m pretty sure getting Joc means Palka is off the 25-man. At best he would be the left fielder until Eloy magically improves his defense in April.


I’m all for Pederson. Career .339 OBP, 13% BB with a decreasing K%. Not to mention his power, he could hit 30 bombs easily playing at the g-spot. So we can see Eloy in LF, Joc in CF and..Palka in RF? I’d be perfectly happy with signing Nick Markakis to a 1 year, $12 million deal to patrol right field. Markakis also doesn’t need to be platooned against lefty pitchers. That way we are guaranteed to have an above replacement level player at all 3 OF positions, which is actually nice to be able to say. 


I’m guessing Jon Jay would be the right fielder. I think a starting 9 of Abreu, Moncada, Timmy, Machado, Eloy, Pederson, Jay, Castillo, Alonso is a pretty decent group. Yolmer, Engel and McCann would likely be the bench, which would leave Palka and Leury out of the mix. Unless they go with Palka over Engel. I still see them carrying 13 pitchers this year, so flexibility on the bench would be important. That’s why I would think they’d be inclined to carry Engel over Palka.


13 pitchers is unheard of I believe. 12 is the most any team goes. Luery and Engel hit lefties well. I’m a little concerned they are going to be too righty dominate. Plus, I like Palka and want him to be at bats.


Sox carried 13 pitchers for most of last year.


I guess I’m wrong then.

As Cirensica

No…you weren’t until not long ago, carrying 13 pitchers was unheard of. Now it is kinda the new norm.


I’d rather see them keep 12 pitchers instead of 13, but I don’t think they will. And I’d rather see them keep Palka instead of Engel. A bench of Yolmer, Engel and McCann is offensively challenged to say the least.

lil jimmy

Leury is out of options, and he would get claimed. He plays both infield and outfield. I presume his flexibility earns him a spot.


And I think Engel still has an option year left?

I think Adam Engel needs to stop being considered in any discussions about anything regarding the Sox going forward. If he’s still on the team something’s wrong. Seems like a nice guy, let him become the mayor of Charlotte.


Am with you. Yolmer has proven to actually be capable of legitimate major league performance when pressed into action, but the rest of the fringe is fungible. Engel, Delmonico, Leury, Tilson, Rondon, Cordelle, Palka, and a few more will be irrelevant very shortly barring something catastrophic.

lil jimmy

Rondon will be Yolmer when Yolmer is gone. That will be soon.


I think Rondon is also out of options? Meaning a trade or cut decision is going to have to be made on all of of Leury, Yolmer and Rondon soon (particularly if Machado is signed)?

One of them going to the Dodgers in a Pederson trade would actually make a fair bit of sense…

Engel has plus plus defense and plus speed, which is pretty valuable off the bench.

Other than rob home runs I can’t think of one thing that he does better than Leury Garcia. And that plus speed hasn’t translated to anything productive on a baseball field (other than rob home runs).


Plus plus defense? UZR and DRS would probably beg to differ. As mentioned, his speed hasn’t really turned into anything either. I have very little confidence he’ll start stealing 25 bags a year.

karkovice squad

Statcast definitely begs to differ with your probable differ begging.

As Cirensica

You know who has plus plus defense and plus plus speed? Billy Hamilton, and even the Reds let him go.

Trooper Galactus

And Hamilton was far better at actually stealing bases.

karkovice squad

Hamilton’s making $5m for the Royals. Engel is getting paid 10% of that.

As Cirensica

Yes, Engel is cheap. Still garbage.

karkovice squad

Not being a full-time player doesn’t make him garbage.

He’s still good as a defensive replacement and pinch runner on a team with less overall roster inefficiency. Stolen bases aren’t the only part of base running.


whew. thought you were going to say, “Yaz.”


If flexibility is important then Leury would make it over Engel.


This trade would have the added benefit of making it easier for the Dodgers to afford Bryce Harper…oh wait…

Josh Nelson

It’s not Bryce Harper the Dodgers are gunning for – it’s AJ Pollock. They would move Joc Pederson to make room for Pollock.


AJ Pollock and Bryce Harper would both make sense for the Sox. But instead we are cobbling together a roster full of cheaper and more flawed alternatives in the hope that we can platoon our way to contention. 


I think adding Machado and trading for Joc is better than signing Pollock or Harper. With all the outfield studs in the minors, I would rather keep my options open in the outfield for 2021 and beyond.


That might be better. Let’s see if that happens. If all I get this off-season is this lousy t-shirt then I am gonna be ticked off. 


I think it’s not so much keeping options open as we actually have bullets in the gun for outfield spots, while we’re kind of devoid of it for 3rd. Our best 3rd base prospect is a guy who already scouts questioned whether he’d stay at 3rd and then he tore his Achilles. Otherwise, we’re moving someone else on the roster over there, or playing Yolmer, a utility guy on a good team, there full time? There are outfielders who might be ready in a year or two, ain’t no one coming at 3rd, so fill it long-term with the big dollar guy.


3B for CWS has been the ‘not so hot’ corner.

Josh Nelson

Or maybe Starling Marte.


Or the Pirates are the mystery team on Machado. They could go either way, honestly.

Trooper Galactus

I have no idea why the Pirates would do this unless the return is simply absurd. I have not gotten the impression they were in sell mode whatsoever.

lil jimmy

Steele Walker ” I’m going to remember it forever. Hopefully I made a difference in kids’ lives, people’s lives”

Spencer Adams ” White Lives matter!”

Maybe just three more years of education matters. I don’t know.


What are you referring to?


Hopefully this trade would make use of some White Sox roster logjams:
 – Extra OF depth (L Garcia and/or Engel)
 – Extra IF depth (Sanchez or Rondon)
 – Extra OF or P prospects who will crunch the 40-man next year


Sure Pederson has sucked against lefties. But it’s not like the Dodgers gave him a ton of at bats against them. He could really blossom if given an everyday role. Also it’s not like there are many quality lefty starters in the AL central.

As always, you have to see what the return would be before making a final judgement but I like it in theory.


I would be on board for this given it’s not at the expense of the main group of prospects. Obviously a lot of moving parts and questions on how competitive they can be in next couple years, but if they did get something together that was borderline competitive, there would definitely be a need to adjust the bench for a few guys who mash lefties. Eloy presumably will, and TA much more dangerous, but a Joc/Yonder/Moncada trio that could be solid everyday vs RHP falls off a cliff vs LHP. Jay can step in somewhere but no help anywhere else on the bench.

I’d guess the Sox are also seeing the cost on Bradley Jr, who also has two more years. Red Sox are trying to trim some payroll with a bunch of upcoming FA’s and are looking for bullpen help, so that could make some sense.


Honest question about Pederson: Looking through some pics and clips of him since he got to the big leagues. He’s thicker than he used to be, like he’s got a bit of a belly. I also noticed he stole 30 bases his last full year in AAA and hasn’t really translated that skill. Add to that what I’m reading about his declining foot speed and center field skills,is nutrition an issue? (It probably didn’t help that two of the clips I saw were him talking about freeze dried ice cream and pizza.) We tend have our share of those guys. Collins and Burger have some meet. Eloy too and know he was told to work on nutrition. Point is – Joc’s only 26 so wondering if he can get some of that quickness back and be a positive in center and on bases. Either way, I’m pro the acquisition.

Rex Fermier

I hear that a lot of people think Joc Pederson would be a good fit for the Sox. OK then, If we want him who do we have to give up that the Dodgers need? Yolmer? Garcia? Prospects? How much is this gonna cost? What’s the most likely fit for the Dodgers?


Without looking at the Dodgers 40 man situation, I’m guessing they’ll want arms, so something like Fulmer* and a bullpen arm. Maybe a rookie/low A lotto ticket.

*Assuming the Dodgers think they can “fix” him and by “fix” him, I mean, not jerk him around.