Joc Pederson: Braves Talking Trade with Dodgers for OF?


The Atlanta Braves have shown that no player is too untouchable to give up so far this offseason, trading away both Andrelton Simmons and Cameron Maybin over the past couple of weeks.

Given the Braves penchant for giving up their top major league player players in exchange for young talent, Shelby Miller is the latest focus of trade speculation. CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported last week that at least 20 different teams smelled blood in the water and have checked in on Shelby Miller.

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It’s clear that right now the Atlanta Braves have a surplus of young pitching, bat lack any impact bats at the major league level outside of Freddie Freeman. Braves’ GM John Coppolella stated that last year’s disappointing campaign cannot happen again, and that the team is not tanking in 2016. 

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A couple of weeks ago, the Braves and the Diamondbacks discussed a trade involving Shelby Miller, in which Atlanta asked for 2015 A.J. Pollock in return. The talks never went far after that, as Arizona would not part with their 27-year-old star outfielder. Still though, it showed that John Coppolella and the Braves front-office is serious about acquiring an impact bat via a trade.

The Braves will almost certainly not pursue a top level free agent, as then they would have to get up their number 3 pick in the 2016 draft. Because of their surplus of young pitching, and the fact that Shelby Miller put up impressive numbers in his 2015 All-Star season, he has become perhaps the Braves best trade piece.

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In light of the report that the Braves are shopping Shelby Miller and are simultaneously looking for an impact bat, Robert Murray of Baseball Essential reported on Sunday that the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers discussed a trade involving Shelby Miller for their young star outfielder, Joc Pederson.

Jon Heyman also stated on Monday that the Braves have engaged in talks with the Dodgers about Joc Pederson. It does seem that there is interest from the Dodgers, who are uncertain of whether they can re-sign Zach Greinke, in which case they would look to Miller to fill the void. It makes sense.

I would like to think that this report is true, and would gladly welcome Joc Pederson to Braves country. An All-Star starter as a rookie in 2015, Joc Pederson slashed .210/.346/.417 with 26 homers and 54 RBI’s. Though his average is on the low side, and Joc Pederson did whiff 170 times in 2015, the 23-year-old center fielder just finished his first full season, and has a huge amount of upside.

Joc Pederson’s power numbers suggest that his addition to the Atlanta lineup would help Freddie Freeman, who lacks any type of protection in the Braves lineup as of now. The Dodgers and the Braves were trade partners twice last season, so they have a good relationship to make a deal happen. Murray reports that the Dodgers are looking for a young pitcher under team control for a few years. Shelby Miller definitely fits that.

Though Joc Pederson’s splits are concerning (hitting .178 in the second half of the 2015 season), his upside and age are very attractive to a team like the Atlanta Braves. With their surplus of young pitching, Shelby Miller is expendable in order to acquire an impact bat with so much upside.

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It’s reported that until the Dodgers ascertain Zach Greinke’s intentions, they will not pull the trigger on this deal. But should Greinke bolt in free agency, this deal may go through. With the Winter Meetings happening next week, the Hot Stove is about to heat up. We’ll see what happens a week from now. Stay tuned.