The market for two-time All-Star Joc Pederson has been quiet so far this offseason. However, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that the Toronto Blue Jays have "serious interest" in the former SF Giants power-hitting DH.
Blue Jays reportedly have "serious interest" in former SF Giants power-hitting DH
This is not the first time Toronto has been connected to Pederson this offseason. However, Nicholson-Smith's report does add more context to the Blue Jays' level of interest in the left-handed bat. The Chicago Cubs are reportedly in the mix as well depending on how Cody Bellinger's market plays out.
The Blue Jays have been busy in recent days, signing Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year, $10 million pact and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a two-year, $15 million contract. Both of these moves do impact the Giants' offseason plans one way or the other given the team's interest in four-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman.
The Blue Jays do have one void to fill from their 2023 roster and that is Brandon Belt. Belt had a strong year with Toronto as he tallied an .858 OPS with 19 home runs in 404 plate appearances. There has been very little information on Belt's marker thus far as the veteran bat has not decided whether to continue his playing career. That said, if he does, he should find plenty of interest on the open market.
Adding Pederson would give the Blue Jays a similar offensive profile as Belt. Pederson registered a .235/.348/.416 line (111 OPS+) with 15 home runs, 51 RBI, and 59 runs in 425 plate appearances with the Giants last season. This includes a solid 13.4 percent walk rate, 20.9 percent strikeout rate, and a .182 ISO.
These were solid numbers but a sharp decline from his 2022 campaign in which he posted an .874 OPS with 23 homers while earning NL All-Star honors. Despite this, Pederson still consistently made quality contact and boasted a .348 on-base percentage even in a down year. Teams will certainly take a chance on that upside.
However, one of those teams will likely not the the Giants. The left-handed bat spent the last two seasons with San Francisco and the team is looking to get younger and more athletic this winter. That is hard to do if they commit a roster spot to a DH-only like Pederson. Nevertheless, Pederson should have no problem landing a guaranteed deal next season.