It was only a matter of time before the Cubs started making moves ahead of the trade deadline after their downward spiral to end the first half. They got an early start on Thursday, trading outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball.
Pederson signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Cubs this winter and was essentially the replacement for longtime outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who was non-tendered at the end of last season.
The 29-year-old outfielder served as primarily as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter in 2021, slashing .230/.300/.418 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 39 games this season.
Ball, 23, was a 24th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and the No. 12 prospect in Braves’ system according to MLB Pipeline. Ball was slashing .207/.354/.396 with six homers and 30 RBIs at Advanced-A Rome this season.
More trades are likely to follow in the coming weeks as the Cubs, who are eight games back in the NL Central, appear to be starting a long-awaited retool.