Okay, I will admit that it is not a great case but hear me out! The qualifying offer for 2023 was set at $19.65 million and the SF Giants have an easy case with Carlos Rodón but they could also use it strategically with Joc Pederson.
SF Giants: The case for issuing Joc Pederson a qualifying offer
Team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has stated that the Giants would love to bring back Pederson. The left-handed bat is coming off of a nice season in which he slashed .274/.353/.521 (144 OPS+) with 23 home runs, 70 RBI, and 57 runs in 380 plate appearances. This included a 9.7 percent walk rate against a 23.1 percent strikeout rate.
He earned an All-Star nod in 2022 as well while being the Giants' most consistent and potent hitter. Pederson is in a good position as he re-enters free agency.
He can still hit but his defense has regressed noticeably in recent years. He was worth -15 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -11 Outs Above Average (OAA) in 2022 for a Giants defense that was one of the worst in baseball. He was far from the only issue with the glove. That said, his slide on defense is a trend that spans multiple seasons at this point, and why he should probably consider a position change to first base. His best days in the field are behind him.
The 30-year-old can still fill an important role as a middle-of-the-order threat against right-handed pitching. There is no doubt that a team in need of an impact bat will be interested in Pederson.
Jay Bruce's three-year, $39 million contract in 2018 could serve as a template for Pederson. When Bruce signed that deal, he could still hit for a lot of power but his glove left a lot to be desired. That profile fits Pederson as well. Bruce's deal did not age well as he posted a .731 OPS for the duration of that contract.
Pederson likely has more left in the tank than Bruce did when he signed his contract. But the drop off from functional role player to bad contract was relatively quick in the case of Bruce and something that the Giants want to avoid.
The Giants need help in a lot of areas including against right-handed pitching. Pederson checks that box but there is a limit to his upside.
The qualifying offer would make some sense for the Giants and Pederson. Chances are good that the lefty bat would accept it, locking him into a one-year deal at $19.65 million. The salary might be an overpay but it would only be for one season.
It might take a multi-year deal to retain Pederson as a free agent, but a qualifying offer would sidestep the need for that. It may not make the most sense from an economic standpoint, but a qualifying offer would allow the Giants to keep Pederson without committing to a multi-year deal. In a sense, it could be a win for both side.