The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to MLB trade deadline deals. In the past decade alone, the two teams have made two massive deals. The first was the Manny Ramirez–Jason Bay deal. The second, a far more impactful trade for both parties, was the deal that saw the Dodgers acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto while the Red Sox got a championship, a salary dump and some impact prospects in return.
Now, the Red Sox find themselves in need of an impact hitter to help carry them to the playoffs in 2014. They have the pitching, but their lineup is incapable of putting up consistent production, especially in the outfield. That’s where the dynamic between the Dodgers and Red Sox may come into play again.
The Dodgers meanwhile, are firmly in the playoff hunt, but they have one problem, they have a logjam in the outfield. With Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Crawford signed long term, they have four outfielders with only three starting spots.
Then there’s the issue of what to do with Joc Pederson. He is currently at the Triple-A level for the Dodgers with no way of being called up. He has hit everywhere in the minors, putting up a career .306 batting average and he has a rare mix of speed and power at his disposal.
In the past three seasons, Pederson has never had less than 18 home runs or 24 steals in any given year. He strikes out a lot, but with his tools, one is willing to sacrifice the occasional strikeout. He draws walks too. He has walked in at least 10 percent of his plate appearances every year he’s played in the minors. He is also versatile, with the ability to play every outfield position on the diamond.
Given the Red Sox history of deadline deals with the Dodgers and their need for a bat in the outfield, they shouldn’t hesitate to go after Pederson. Kemp is banged up frequently and may be on the downside of his career and the same can be said for Ethier, Crawford had a stint in Boston already that ended badly, and Puig has been deemed untouchable by LA. Knowing this, the only shot Boston has is to acquire Pederson.
Pederson’s price will likely be high, probably a veteran or two and at least one pitching prospect, but the Red Sox’ farm system is loaded with talent, with the exception of power outfielders.
By acquiring Pederson, the Red Sox would fill an immediate need. They would then have the luxury of shifting the rest of their defensive alignment to systematically improve elsewhere. For example, by putting Pederson in left, moving Jackie Bradley Jr. to center, Shane Victorino to right and Brock Holt to the infield, a place he is more suited to play, you would then have a competent team in the field.
Acquiring Pederson makes too much sense for the Red Sox and they should at least kick the tires on a potential deal. They lack power in the outfield and they have more arms than they know what to do with. Pederson could be the answer to the hitting woes that have plagued them lately.
He is still young, can help the Red Sox long term and the Dodgers likely know they have to move him. Maybe if the Red Sox are lucky, he could help them make a playoff push. Either way, Boston can’t afford to waste the opportunity to acquire him.