D-backs finalize 1-year deal with slugging vet Pederson

January 30th, 2024

PHOENIX -- Shortly after saying he was still looking to add a bat, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen did just that, as Arizona on Tuesday announced a one-year deal with free agent that includes a mutual option for 2025.

Pederson is yet another addition the defending NL champs have made this offseason in hopes of improving a team that went 84-78 during the regular season before roaring through the postseason.

The D-backs have also added third baseman Eugenio Suarez and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in addition to re-signing outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Hazen said Wednesday that he was still hopeful of adding some offensive help and said if it was going to be someone that is limited to the DH role it would need to be “somebody that was going to add into the middle of our lineup.”

While Pederson played some outfield for the Giants over the past two seasons, defense is not his strong suit and he is likely going to see almost all of his playing time as a DH against right-handed pitching.

Pederson still swings one of the biggest left-handed bats in baseball. Despite underwhelming results in 2023, the 10-year veteran remains a Statcast darling at the plate and can still be a positive contributor to any lineup in the league.

After a brief debut with the Dodgers in 2014, Pederson enjoyed a stellar rookie season the year after, making the NL All-Star team and hitting 26 home runs. Pederson would play parts of seven seasons for LA, hitting 25-plus long balls in four.

In 2020, Pederson earned the nickname “Joctober” after he hit .382 with two home runs and eight RBIs during the Dodgers' World Series run. A year later, Pederson would build on his postseason legacy with three more home runs for the Braves in the playoffs during their World Series-winning 2021 campaign.

In ‘24, Pederson will look to channel the form he displayed during the 2022 season, his first with the Giants, which was perhaps the best season of his career at the plate. Pederson hit 23 home runs and posted a career-best 146 wRC+, which was tied for the ninth-highest rate in baseball among those with at least 400 plate appearances. His expected slugging percentage (.502) and hard-hit rate (52.1 percent) both ranked in the 95th percentile.

While Pederson took a step back in 2023, there’s reason to believe he was a bit unlucky at the plate. Pederson swatted just 15 home runs with a 111 wRC+ in 358 at-bats in 2023, but he, in fact, upped his hard-hit rate while cutting down on his strikeouts and increasing his walk rate. Both his BABIP (.268) and HR/FB rate (13.3 percent) were well below his career average.

In a corresponding move, the D-backs designated right-hander Collin Snider for assignment.