The Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent outfielder Joc Pederson, according to The Athletic. The deal is reportedly worth $7 million.
The left-handed-hitting Pederson, 28, fills an immediate need, bolstering both the Cubs’ outfield defense and their offense against right-handed pitching, against which he has been especially effective with a .238/ .349/.501 career slash line and .849 OPS. Additionally, 121 of his 130 homers have come against righties.
He likely would get the majority of the playing time in left field with Ian Happ in center. But because Pederson is so much better against right-handed pitchers, the Cubs might be best served using him in a platoon with a right-handed counterpart. Recent acquisition Phillip Ervin has been productive against lefties in his career, and superutility man Nico Hoerner also could get some work in the outfield in a platoon situation.
In 2,517 plate appearances over seven seasons with the Dodgers, Pederson hit .230/.336/.470, racking up 25 or more homers in four of those seasons. In last year’s pandemic-shortened season, he hit .190/.285/.397 with seven homers in 43 games, then went 13-for-34 with two homers in the postseason as the Dodgers worked their way to a World Series title.
In 2019, he hit .249/.339/.538 with career highs in homers (36) and RBI (74).
The Cubs lost left fielder Kyle Schwarber in free agency when he signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Nationals earlier this month.
After a relatively quiet start to their offseason, they have since begun to round out the roster. That included signing right-hander Kohl Stewart to a one-year, $700,000 deal Thursday.
The Pederson deal, which is contingent upon him passing a physical, puts the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 38. They now can focus their attention on starting pitching, and with several veteran options still on the market, there’s an opportunity to add some experience to the back end of their rotation.