Who did the Braves trade for Joc Pederson?
The Cubs traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night in a deal for minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball. The move ends Pederson's half-season tenure with the organization after putting up a .230/.300/.418 line with 11 home runs, 11 doubles and 39 RBIs in 73 games. Chicago TribuneChicago Cubs trade Joc Pederson to Atlanta Braves
The Chicago Cubs began their sell-off late Thursday night by sending Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves for a Class A prospect.
But it doesn’t even rate as an appetizer for what’s to come. Dealing the 29-year-old Pederson for 23-year-old first baseman Bryce Ball is like getting free breadsticks before the main meal.
It may halt your hunger cravings, but it’s really just a way to pass time while waiting for the entree.
Perhaps no one epitomized the Cubs’ first-half roller coaster like Pederson, who was brought in to replace Kyle Schwarber, whom the Cubs non-tendered last fall when they could not get anything of value after shopping him around.
After killing Cactus League pitching in Arizona, Pederson hit an abysmal .137 with one home run in his first 16 games through April 20 before going on the injured list with left wrist tendinitis. He returned in early May and went on a hot streak, hitting .295 with 10 home runs in his next 37 games with an .897 OPS.
At that point, Pederson’s one-year, $7 million deal looked like a steal for Cubs President Jed Hoyer. But in his last 19 games with the Cubs, Pederson hit .172 with no home runs and a .510 OPS, resembling the guy we saw in April.
Not coincidentally, the Cubs’ first-half collapse coincided with Pederson’s drop-off, making him expendable.
Which guy the Braves are getting is anyone’s guess, but they didn’t have to give away much to get him. In the trade, the Cubs picked up the Braves’ 12th ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, and Atlanta will pick up the remaining $2 million of Pederson’s salary. Pederson has a mutual option for 2022.
With All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. out for the rest of the year, it was a quick fix solution by Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos, who knew Pederson well from their time together in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Ball is an all-or-nothing hitter with a .207 average and six home runs in Class A. Suffice to say he’s not exactly Fernando Tatis Jr., the Class A prospect the White Sox sent to the San Diego Padres in the James Shields trade in 2016. Shields was so awful he inadvertently helped start the Sox rebuild, while Tatis went on to become one of the game’s biggest stars.
What will we remember about the Pederson era on the North Side?
He brought some swag to the Cubs, from the time he stood at the plate and celebrated a fly ball he thought was leaving Wrigley Field, only to watch it turn into a sacrifice fly to medium right field, to the early June night in San Francisco he first emulated Tatis by copying his patented stutter-step move at third base on a home run trot. Pederson did it again later that week in San Diego, with Tatis watching on the field.
Pederson explained afterward he was paying homage to Tatis by sampling his work.
“He’s got some of the most swag in the game, so our team’s just having fun,” he said. “It kind of just happened in San Francisco, and I just kept it going. If I keep hitting homers, I’m going to keep doing it.”
But that was the end of the swag-a-thon, as both Pederson and the Cubs lineup stopped hitting in June.
Former Cubs teammate Jason Heyward said goodbye to Pederson with a cryptic Instagram post, writing: “Mind over matter... if it’s not from the crew it don’t matter. Keeping swagging out on em Yung.”
In the end, Pederson’s stint with the Cubs always was fated to be compared with how Schwarber was doing in Washington, where he signed as a free agent. The two were both left-handed sluggers coming off disappointing 2020 seasons.
It was no comparison. Schwarber hit 25 home runs in 265 at-bats before going on the IL with a hamstring injury, tying a modern day record with 12 home runs in 10 games in June. He’s third in the majors in home runs per at-bat, behind the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and Tatis, and earned a selection to his first All-Star Game, though he could not participate due to injury.
Giving up on Schwarber without getting anything in return will go down as one of the worst moves of Hoyer’s first year as president, along with trading All-Star Yu Darvish to the Padres for Zach Davies and four low-level prospects, which doomed the season from the outset.
The Pederson trade won’t resonate like the Darvish deal, and it will be a few years before we know if Ball can become a major league talent. Pederson is likely to be remembered as the first of what’s expected to be a slew of Cubs players jettisoned before the July 30 trade deadline.
The onus is now on Hoyer to get a quality package for closer Craig Kimbrel, his most valuable trading chip, and some decent prospects in a deal for any of the “Big 3″ — Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo.
The deal of any one of those three soon-to-be-free-agents will signal the end of an era that started with the 2012 rebuild and culminated in the 2016 championship season. Hoyer also will soon have to make a decision on Jake Arrieta, whose trade value is next to nothing after his poor first half and the subsequent admission by manager David Ross that Arrieta has been pitching through a hamstring issue since late May.
Davies also is likely to be shopped as the Cubs open up a spot in the rotation in the second half for rookie Justin Steele. Catcher Willson Contreras, who ripped the team’s effort at the end of the first half, also may be on the market for the right price.
So get ready for your appetizers, and don’t get too filled up on the breadsticks.
Copyright © 2021, Chicago Tribune
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19 July, 2021 - 04:01am
19 July, 2021 - 04:01am
19 July, 2021 - 04:01am
Braves welcome Joc Pederson, then hit 3 homers, blow lead in 10-inning loss
19 July, 2021 - 04:01am
MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Thursday night the Mets are among "multiple teams" interested in Cubs All-Star Kris Bryant.
Sources have also told NBC Sports Chicago the Mets are interested in Bryant.
The Cubs' selloff began earlier Thursday, when they shipped outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves for first base prospect Bryce Ball. It's the first of likely several deals they make before the July 30 trade deadline.
Bryant, who's set to become a free agent this offseason, is one of the Cubs' top trade chips. He'll be one of the most sought-after bats on the market in the coming weeks.
New York also was interested in Bryant over the offseason, following the shortened 60-game 2020 season in which he had a down offensive showing in a small 34-game sample size.
Bryant even received a fake text message this winter from a Connecticut number stating he had been traded to New York.
Bryant has bounced back in a major way this season, making his fourth All-Star team. He's hitting .271/.353/.502 with 16 home runs in 81 games.
The 29-year-old has been the Cubs' top offensive player this season while providing valuable defensive versatility. He's made 10 or more starts at five different positions — first and third base, and left, right and center field.
17 July, 2021 - 11:17pm
“If you would have asked me the whole offseason, I’d have probably said I was signing with the Braves,” Pederson said before he homered and had two hits in Atlanta's 9-0 win over the Rays. “It was close enough that we were looking at houses [for] Spring Training and in Atlanta.”
Approximately a week after Pederson agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with the Cubs, the Braves signed Marcell Ozuna to a four-year, $65 million deal. But nearly six months later, Pederson finds himself as part of Atlanta’s decimated outfield mix.
Already without Ozuna since he fractured two fingers and was arrested on domestic violence charges in May, the Braves’ lineup was further depleted last weekend when Ronald Acuña Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The Braves responded by trading first-base prospect Bryce Ball to the Cubs in exchange for Pederson, who will now fill Acuña’s roles as Atlanta’s right fielder and leadoff hitter.
“[Acuña] is probably one of the best leadoff hitters in the game,” Pederson said. “I’m not going to fill that role. But I’m going to do what I can do to help this team win some ballgames.”
Pederson quickly gained the favor of his new fan base by saying he’s looking forward to honoring his former Cubs teammate and ex-Brave Jason Heyward by wearing No. 22. He said it’s also a privilege to wear the same number as his close friend and former Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw.
“I’m rocking 22 for J-Hey and then for my guy Kersh,” Pederson said. “J-Hey did it here for a long time wearing that number, and Kersh is a great friend. I guess 22 on every team I’ve been on has been legendary. So I’m proud to wear 22.”
Smith entered Saturday hitting .194 with a .501 OPS in 69 plate appearances for the Braves. Lucroy went 1-for-5 and drew three walks while playing just two games for Atlanta.
The 35-year-old Lucroy was also let go by the Nationals after going 5-for-14 with a double in just five games earlier this year.
So why did the Braves end up keeping Smith and designating Lucroy for assignment?
“I don’t know if it isn’t that they’re pretty much the same guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Right now, at this point in their careers, they’re backup guys. We’re just piecing this thing together to get Travis back.”
Starting catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been sidelined since tearing ligaments in his left thumb on May 1. The Braves are hoping he can rejoin their lineup during the first half of August.
• Third-round selection Dylan Dodd, a left-handed pitcher out of Southeast Missouri State. The 23-year-old senior sign accepted an under-slot deal worth $122,500. Slot value for his pick (96th overall pick) was $604,800.
• Fifth-round selection Luke Waddell, a shortstop from Georgia Tech, who agreed to an under-slot bonus of $247,500. Slot value for his pick (157th overall) was $333,300.
With the savings from under-slot selections like Dodd and Waddell, the Braves gained bonus pool flexibility for other selections within the first 10 rounds. They also kept some funds available to take Andrew Hoffman in the 12th round. Hoffman, a 6-foot-5 right-hander out of Illinois, signed for $125,000.
Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown said he expects to sign 19 of the 20 selections.
17 July, 2021 - 05:48pm
17 July, 2021 - 01:48pm
Joc Pederson, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images)
Some ballplayers like to keep the same number no matter where they play. Others opt for a new number and a fresh start when they suit up for a new club.
After making his Braves debut on Friday night, Pederson explained to The Athletic‘s David O’Brien why he picked that number. The answer? He wanted to honor former teammates and good friends Jason Heyward and Clayton Kershaw.
Joc Pederson said he’s proud to wear number 22 with Atlanta since his Cubs teammate Jason Heyward wore it with the #Braves and his friend Clayton Kershaw wears it with his former team, the Dodgers.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 17, 2021
Pederson’s jersey number in Atlanta shows his admiration for his friends and former teammates. Heyward wore 22 when he was with the Braves and still wears it for the Chicago Cubs. Kershaw has worn No. 22 throughout his 14-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Some baseball players like to wear the number of their childhood heroes. Pederson chose to honor his friends, but it probably doesn’t hurt that Kershaw is a living legend with three Cy Young Awards, a National League MVP trophy, and a World Series Championship to his name.
Pederson’s Cubs number (24) was already taken by Braves catcher William Contreras, who is on the 40-man roster but currently playing in the minors. His Dodgers number (31) was available, but instead, he chose a new number altogether.
Pederson is batting .230 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 74 games this season.
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16 July, 2021 - 04:22pm
CHICAGO – Per usual, the break was quick, and for some, it didn’t really even last that long.
The players on the Cubs and the White Sox that weren’t taking part in the All-Star Game had three full days off before making their way back to the club on Thursday before play resumes on Friday.
As it does, both clubs are in much different situations as they approach the final two-and-a-half months of the regular season.
Despite a number of injuries, the very talented and deep White Sox have forged ahead under manager Tony La Russa, climbing to 19 games over .500 in the first half to grab an eight-game lead in the American League Central division.
At the moment, they have the best record in the American League by percentage points over the Red Sox and the Astros, whom they’ll host for the first time in 2021 this weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Meanwhile, the focus for Cubs’ fans and maybe players is split.
One will be on the club on the field as they face the Diamondbacks for the first of three games in Phoenix on Friday night. Meanwhile, the other focus is on what the team will do with their roster as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.
Already the team has dealt starting outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves in exchange for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball. He’s one of the many players on the roster who is playing out the final year of their contract, though Pederson had only joined the Cubs this offseason.
Eyes will be on players like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, and Anthony Rizzo as the deadline approaches to see which players the team decides to part ways with to acquire talent to build in the future. It’s a question that will continue this weekend and the final two weeks of the season.
Larry Hawley had more on both teams as the second half begins on WGN News Now. You can watch that report in the video above.
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Warmer temps are expected over the next 7 days, while there isn't a lot of potential for rain in the Chicago area.
Cooler conditions will likely be found near the lake in the next few days, but late in the week, the heat is forecast to reach lakeside locations.
“I’ve gone only a little over 100 miles. I’m just getting started,” he says.
The capsule is entirely automated, unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane that required two pilots to get him to space and back a week ago.