It's questionable as to whether or not the San Diego Padres were looking to sign Joc Pederson, but he definitely fits what the Padres have been looking for this offseason -- a left-handed-hitting outfielder.
Pederson is a familiar foe to the Friar Faithful after watching the slugger spend the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pederson left after 2020 and split the 2021 season with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before landing with the San Francisco Giants, where he's played the past two seasons.
Pederson has played over 125 games against the Padres over his 10 major league seasons with a respectable .464 slugging percentage and .805 OPS. Get ready, Padres fans, because you'll be seeing a whole lot more of him in 2024. Pederson just signed a one-year deal to join the defending NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
Padres lose potential lefty-hitting outfielder, Joc Pederson, to NL West rival Diamondbacks
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Joc Pederson's new deal with the D-backs is worth $12.5 million in guarantees and includes a mutual option for the 2025 season. Pederson is just the latest in a series of high-level transactions Arizona has executed this offseason.
The first domino fell shortly after the 2023 season ended when the Diamondbacks traded for Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez. The D-backs also re-signed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a three-year contract and inked left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year deal. D-backs GM Mike Hazen is doing his best to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter.
The Padres, on the other hand, have done more selling than buying. The Friars traded Juan Soto to the New York Yankees this offseason, and while newly acquired pitcher Michael King believes San Diego won that trade, it's best to allow the 2024 season to play out before declaring a winner.
The Padres need to add to their outfield, whether it's via trade or free agency. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the lone offensive threat among the group and is the only starting-caliber outfielder on the roster. While Pederson might not have been a perfect fit, president of baseball operations A.J. Preller needs to prioritize a left-handed hitting outfielder.
There are a few viable options remaining in free agency, including Eddie Rosario and David Peralta. While a trade can't be ruled out either, the Friars seem rather focused on acquiring assets rather than parting with them.