The Braves and Cubs have swung a notable commerce, as outfielder Joc Pederson is on his technique to Atlanta. First base prospect Bryce Ball is the return going again to Chicago. There doesn’t seem like any cash altering palms within the deal, so the Braves look to be absorbing all the $1.84M remaining of his $4.5M wage for the 2021 season in addition to the $2.5M buyout of the $10M mutual choice on Pederson for the 2022 season.
Pederson addresses a transparent and apparent want within the outfield for Atlanta after famous person Ronald Acuna Jr. was misplaced for the season as a result of a torn ACL. Pederson has a whole lot of middle discipline expertise over his profession, however it’s in all probability extra doubtless that he’ll be deployed principally as a nook outfielder for the Braves. With Pederson dealing with left or proper discipline regularly and Guillermo Heredia getting the majority of the work in middle discipline, the Braves can toggle between Orlando Arcia, Ehire Adrianza, Ender Inciarte and Abraham Almonte for the opposite nook spot and as backup choices.
Some sort of right-handed hitting choice could be mandatory as a complement to Pederson, who has a modest .271/.348/.339 slash line in 66 PA towards left-handed pitching this season. His choice to signal a free-agent cope with the Cubs final winter was made partially as a result of Chicago supplied Pederson an opportunity to play on a regular basis somewhat than in a platoon capability, and his numbers are nonetheless an enchancment from his general profession line towards left-handed pitching. The batting common and OBP are no less than respectable sufficient that the Braves would possibly nonetheless use Pederson as kind of an on a regular basis participant simply to plug one outfield gap.
It additionally attainable the Braves might add one other outfielder on the commerce market, since this swap signifies that the membership hasn’t conceded something within the wake of Acuna’s devastating damage. Atlanta has a 44-45 report however sits simply 4 video games again of the Mets for first place within the NL East. Because the Braves have a troublesome schedule between now and the July 30 commerce deadline (5 video games towards the Mets, three towards the Phillies and three every towards playoff contenders Tampa Bay and San Diego), it additionally isn’t out of the query that Pederson could possibly be flipped once more if the Braves battle over the subsequent two weeks and resolve to promote some items.
An above-average bat for many of his seven seasons with the Dodgers, Pederson was additionally dealt to the Angels in a somewhat infamously scuttled deal previous to the 2020 marketing campaign, however he remained on L.A.’s blue crew lengthy sufficient to seize a World Collection ring. He posted a .991 OPS over 37 plate appearances in the course of the Dodgers’ postseason run, offering a contented ending after a battle (.681 OPS in 138 PA) of a daily season.
The Braves had some curiosity in Pederson as a free agent, however he ended up signing with Chicago and nonetheless hasn’t actually gotten himself proper on the plate. Pederson has been a barely below-average (95 wRC+, 96 OPS+) hitter in 287 complete plate appearances this season, hitting .230/.300/.418 with 11 house runs. All 11 of these homers have come towards right-handed pitching, but whereas Pederson sought out extra taking part in time towards lefties in the course of the winter, the irony is that he has now struggled to hit righties for 2 straight seasons. Pederson has solely a .218/.285/.442 slash line in 221 PA towards righties this yr.
The Cubs have a 44-46 report, solely a half-game behind the Braves within the standings and but seemingly a world aside by way of expectations for the rest of the 2021 season. The Cubs have received simply six of its final 25 video games, because of a crushing 11-game shedding streak that appears to have put them in a vendor’s mindset because the deadline approaches. As a rental participant, Pederson was a pure commerce chip to be moved, and hypothesis has swirled for months that such impending free brokers (and franchise cornerstones) similar to Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo could possibly be on the transfer by July 30.
This commerce could possibly be the primary of many for the Cubs over the subsequent two weeks, and the Wrigleyville aspect has already picked up one attention-grabbing minor leaguer in Ball. A Twenty fourth-round choose for Atlanta within the 2019 draft, Ball was a power-heavy prospect who instantly displayed that talent in his first professional season, batting a cumulative .329/.395/.628 with 17 homers over 263 PA with the Braves’ rookie league and A-ball groups in 2019. It hasn’t been as clean for Ball this yr, nevertheless, with solely a .207/.354/.396 slash line in 212 PA at high-A ball, together with an influence drop-off leading to solely six house runs and an enormous discount in slugging proportion.
MLB Pipeline ranked Ball because the Twelfth-best prospect within the Braves’ farm system, so he’s greater than only a lottery ticket at age 23 if the Cubs growth system can sharpen his hitting potential. For the sake of future commerce hypothesis, Ball isn’t actually sufficient of a premium first base prospect that it could make a Rizzo commerce any extra doubtless than it already is, essentially. (By that very same token, dealing a primary base prospect in all probability additionally isn’t a touch about Freddie Freeman’s future with the Braves, however Freeman actually doesn’t look like a commerce candidate.)