3 SF Giants who will not be back with the club in 2024
3. Joc Pederson
I have gone back and forth on this one and have finally stuck my stake in the ground. I realize that Joc Pederson is a bit of a polarizing name in a similar way as Alex Wood. That said, he still brings something to the table. I am not sure I can say the same about Wood.
The Giants offered him a $19.65 million qualifying offer last winter to which he accepted. The purpose of this was to sidestep the need for a multi-year deal, so the Giants paid a higher amount for one season. That salary has been stapled to his forehead as few on the roster have underperformed as badly as he has. The left-handed bat was coming off of an All-Star campaign in 2022 when he posted an .874 OPS with 23 home runs in 433 plate appearances.
He will fall well short of those numbers this year as he is slashing .243/.355/.432 (116 OPS+) with 15 home runs, 51 RBI, and 59 runs in 409 plate appearances. This includes a 13.2 percent walk rate, 20.8 percent strikeout rate, and a .188 ISO.
That .355 on-base percentage and 13.2 percent walk rate will appeal to a lot of teams. The Giants, in particular, like hitters who control the strike zone like Pederson does. Plus, he can still be a middle-of-the-order hitter for a Giants team that may not have a true cleanup bat next year.
He is still a solid hitter even if his numbers took a step back from 2022. Those types of players do not grow on trees, so the Giants may want to consider a reunion. With that being said, the 10-year veteran and his representatives will likely point to solid statcast numbers like a 92.2-MPH average exit velocity as a way to explain poor luck leading to a dip in his overall numbers.
Pederson might be in the market for a two-year deal and could get it if the annual rate makes sense. If he is looking for a two-year, $16 million deal, that could make sense for both team and player. Though, it feels like the ship on him returing has sailed. The Giants will (once again) look to get younger and more athletic and it is hard to accomplish that with a DH-only like Pederson still on the roster.