I am not sure why there is such an affinity by so many Dodgers fans to trade Joc Pederson, or for some to simply dump him. He is a 26 year old immature little kid who still thinks he is playing little league for fun. He loves the game. Maybe it is because of his brother Champ that he does not take the game as seriously as some would like. Or maybe Champ puts the game in proper perspective for Joc. I do not see any player getting more excited for a big play for LAD than Joc. Other than maybe Charlie Culberson, who had a more enjoyable time at the WS than Joc? Maybe he played as well as he did because he was not wound up as tight as the others. Maybe Clayton Kershaw can learn something from Joc.
I understand more than most that MLB is more than a game. It is a BIG business, with lots of dollars. But in the MLB version of Monopoly, the $2M Joc is projected to make in arbitration is immaterial. Joc is more Mediterranean Ave. and Baltic Ave. than Boardwalk and Park Place.
I understand that Joc is an enigma. Sure maybe he does not make the adjustments that Corey or Cody do, but he can hit the ball a long way when he does. He is not an elite CF, and he may not be as good as Toles as an overall baseball talent. I do think he would be a good platoon partner with Kike’ but so could Toles. And maybe Verdugo will be better than them all. But for someone who can hit the ball as hard and as far as Joc does, there is a place in MLB for him. Maybe it is not with the Dodgers, but he does have value. He is more than salary dump.
I have been as critical of Joc and his splits against LHP as much as anyone else. He cannot be an everyday LF or CF with his inability to consistently hit LHP. Maybe he will never be more than a platoon OF; a #4 or #5 OF. But every team needs them and carries them on the roster. Why not Joc? Joc has never done anything to hurt the team as Puig has done in the past. But apparently Yaisel has turned the page, and is no longer the pariah he once was. At 26 are we really ready to give up on Joc’s ability to hit the ball a long way?
Joc – 2017 Overall – .212/.331/.407/.738
Joc – 2017 vs. LHP – .204/.291/.306/.597
Certainly not pretty, and certainly not worthy of consideration as an everyday OF. But let’s compare that to a player who seems to be somewhat idolized by his home team’s fans:
2017 Overall – .211/.315/.467/.782
2017 vs. LHP – .171/.306/.341/.648
That second player cannot play a lick of defense, and yet the Cubs fans love Kyle Schwarber. They do not want Schwarber traded unless there is a huge return. Kyle is 24 while Joc is 26 so that may provide some reasoning. Not to me. Is it because the Cubs won the WS and the Dodgers did not? The Dodgers did not lose the WS because of Joc Pederson, so that can’t be it. Are Cubs fans more loyal to their players than Dodgers fans? I do not think so overall. Maybe it is because so much was expected from Joc. But no more than Cubs fans expected from Schwarber.
No, I think it is more due to how each of the players approach the game. Schwarber is far more intense, while Joc is more laid back. I think Joc comes across as more aloof. But I harken back to why I think Joc may not APPEAR to take the game as serious as many would like; Champ Pederson. As a young teenager, I would routinely get my ass kicked by the neighborhood bullies by sticking up for a neighbor kid with down syndrome. His family became my surrogate family. We were good for each other. Because of that experience, my goal in life had always been to retire early enough where I could be a fulltime volunteer for the Special Olympics. I was not able to retire early enough, but I still plan to volunteer when I do retire.
I think Champ Pederson puts a different perspective and priority for MLB for Joc. I do not think Joc tries less (maybe he tries too hard), works less, or cares less than any other player. But his persona may give others a different impression.
This post was in NO way inspired by anyone on this site. This site more than any other site has fans who are respectful in their remarks about the players (Dodgers or not) and fellow posters. That is not true with other sites. I think anonymous posters feel they can say anything they want about another human being (sports and otherwise). I got tired of reading some of the vile comments about Joc that were not baseball related. I may be critical of Joc and his baseball results, but he will always be a great person for me.
For those who have not read the following, I highly recommend it. Maybe it will give you a different outlook at Joc Pederson. It also helps define why the Dodgers are a family.
For all of you out there reading LADT, I wish each of you,
A Very Merry Christmas!!