When the Dodgers bolstered their outfield depth by acquiring Curtis Granderson from the Mets on Friday, slumping Joc Pederson's at-bats figured to be limited going forward. That speculation manifested into reality a day later on Saturday, as Pederson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Granderson on
When the Dodgers bolstered their outfield depth by acquiring Curtis Granderson from the Mets on Friday, slumping Joc Pederson's at-bats figured to be limited going forward. That speculation manifested into reality a day later on Saturday, as Pederson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Granderson on the 25-man roster.
Pederson is in the midst of one of the worst career stretches of his young career, having gone just 2-for-41 (.049) with eight strikeouts and four walks over his last 15 games. Second-half struggles have been notorious for the free-swinging slugger, who once ranked as the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com. He is a career .203 hitter after the All-Star break.
"(Pederson) being optioned gives him an opportunity to reset," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Saturday's game. "I have no doubt that Joc is gonna come back here and help us win a lot of baseball games -- obviously get to our ultimate goal, and that's to win a championship.
"But right now, where he's at in the middle of a swing change, trying to get some consistency, and in a Major League setting, it's really hard to continue to perform when you're looking at the scoreboard, when you're looking at your average, and trying to win baseball games. So, for him to go to OKC (Oklahoma City) and take a breath, I think it'll be good for him."
Pederson's struggles of late prompted him to make a significant batting stance adjustment, on display Friday against the Tigers, in which he was less upright with more bend in his knees and his left elbow aligned with his shoulders -- a comparable look to Corey Seager and Chase Utley.
"He's more crouched, trying to get into his legs a little bit more," manager Dave Roberts said Friday. "To potentially get him in a spot where ultimately his head lands ... [which] allows him to see the ball better."
Other than rehab stints while on the disabled list through his three-plus seasons, Pederson hasn't been directly optioned to the Minors relating to performance.
Granderson, who will be a free agent this season, brings veteran leadership and extensive postseason experience to a Dodgers club in an all-or-nothing year. After a brutal first month in which he put up a .128/.174/.221 slash line, Granderson is batting .273 with 17 home runs and a .979 OPS since May 10, with the latter mark ranking 10th in the Majors over that stretch.
He had been a speculative trade chip for much of the summer as the beleaguered Mets veered out of postseason contention.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.