During an interview with Jon Morosi, Jerry Dipoto mentioned that the Mariners were likely going to be looking to add a LHB to the lineup, as well as searching for an outfielder or two. In Joc Pederson, the Mariners could knock out two needs at once.
Joc has had a bit of an up-and-down career but is coming off a career season at the plate. I know this may be worrying to some, but San Francisco is a tough place to hit. He did have four seasons with the Dodgers where he has an OPS+ of 113, 126, 125, and 126. Those pale in comparison to 2022 when he put up a mark of 144.
Could the Mariners sign Joc Pederson to fill a hole in LF?
Pederson consistently hits the ball hard, as evidenced by his 92.5 mph average exit velocity, well above the MLB average. He turned that into 23 HR, 19 2B, and a slash line of .274/.353/.521. It was one of the highest oWAR seasons he ever put together, and was much needed for a Giants team that lacked some of the punch they have had in years past.
Unfortunately, the only place he might be able to play is DH, or else we could see a repeat of Jesse Winker ability in LF. He was an awful defender last year, one of the worst in all of baseball. Whether it was a bad year or a sign of things to come, it would be something that would definitely have to be taken into consideration in signing Pederson.
I think that might be where a problem lies that is too big for the Mariners to overlook. Yes, Pederson can be a good hitter, but you are either getting legitimately bad defense from him in LF, or having a full-time DH that probably doesn’t provide as much pop as you would hope for from someone who is going to take up the majority of the ABs at that position.
Pederson is looking to get around $12 million a year on a 2/3 year contract. He could always take the Qualifying Offer from the Giants and stay there, hoping to repeat what he did and earn either a higher AAV or a longer-term deal. If it turns into an option for the Mariners, I think they should pass. We don’t need another outfielder that can’t play defense, usually misses 25 games a season, and only has a good bat, not anything more special than that.
I like Joc Pederson a lot, and think there is a chance he is a difference-maker for someone. At this point in the Mariners hopeful rise to contention, I think they are better set looking elsewhere for someone to make an impact.