If the Padres non-tender Tommy Pham, could signing Joc Pederson make sense?
Teams must tender players eligible for arbitration by Wednesday, December 2.
Ahead of the deadline, there have been rumblings that Tommy Pham could be a non-tender candidate for the Padres.
According to reports, the left fielder recently underwent his third surgery this year. The most recent was to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist. Pham isn’t swinging a bat, but he indicated that his grip was improving.
The 32-year-old also underwent surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in the same hand. He also suffered a stab wound outside of a nightclub. Add to that a generally disappoint first season in San Diego, and the Padres could be considering other options. Pham is under team control for only one more season, so there is some incentive to find someone younger and someone they can hang onto for a longer period of time.
A free agent the Padres should be very familiar with is former Dodgers’ outfielder Joc Pederson. At 28 years of age, the former 11th round pick of the 2010 MLB Draft led the Dodgers with a .382 batting average in the 2020 postseason. The acquisition and extension of Mookie Betts made Pederson expendable.
He was moved out of his natural leadoff spot in the batting order, dropping down to the bottom of the order while spending a good chunk of the season in the DH role. If the Padres move on from Pham, Pederson would be an excellent replacement while keeping the franchise within their desired budget.
If the Padres are going to keep the payroll at $150m, they have maybe $20m to spend for RP, SP5, and a lefty COF. By contract projections, Rosenthal, T Walker, and Joc Pederson would be around $21m in 2021 money, could move them into top three teams by projected WAR.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 30, 2020
Pederson is a year removed from a 36 home run and 74 RBI’s season. Not much stock should be put into his 2020 numbers, given his diminished role during the regular season. However, Pederson shined under the bright lights of the postseason.
He also has a robust .917 career OPS at Petco Park, which is significantly better than the .814 OPS at Dodger Stadium.
The Padres lost a fair amount of depth in the outfield after trading away Franchy Cordero, Edward Olivares, and Taylor Trammell this last year. As noted, Pham is set to hit unrestricted free agency regardless if he remains with the Padres in 2021. Wil Myers is under contract for two more years, so the addition of Pederson on a multi-year deal would set the Padres up well for their competitive window.