Pederson back to Giants after accepting qualifying offer

November 16th, 2022

accepted a one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Giants on Tuesday, locking the popular slugger into the club’s outfield mix for 2023.

Pederson and Rangers left-hander were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer this year, with 12 other recipients -- including left-hander -- opting to decline and seek a multiyear deal on the open market.

Rodón’s decision to turn down the qualifying offer wouldn’t preclude him from potentially re-signing with San Francisco this offseason, though the 29-year-old ace is expected to have a robust market for his services after logging a 2.88 ERA with 237 strikeouts over a career-high 178 innings in 2022. If Rodón signs elsewhere as a free agent, the Giants will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Pederson, 30, more than tripled his $6 million salary from 2022 after emerging as the Giants’ top hitter, batting .274 while leading the club with an .874 OPS and 23 home runs over 134 games.

The Palo Alto, Calif., native earned his second career All-Star nod after joining his hometown team on a one-year deal last offseason, and he will now return to give the Giants a big power bat in the middle of their lineup, particularly against right-handed pitching.

“I’m really excited to be back,” Pederson said during a Zoom call with reporters. “I’ve enjoyed my time in San Francisco. It’s a great organization. I think we definitely underperformed last year. It’s a good group of guys. We’re going to add some more pieces. I’m pretty sure that we’re going to get back to winning ballgames and back to the playoffs. I’m definitely looking forward to that.”  

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Pederson was always part of “Plan A for 2023,” noting that the two sides had discussed a multiyear deal during the regular season. While they didn’t match up during those conversations, the Giants were ultimately able to secure a reunion with Pederson by extending him the qualifying offer. 

Pederson, who bats left-handed, posted an .894 OPS against righties in 2022 and could benefit from the shift restrictions that will be introduced next year.

“If you ask Joc, he probably thinks he’s going to win the batting title next year,” Zaidi said. “He’s very excited about [the shift restrictions]. We obviously do analysis. … He’s definitely been hurt by the shift over the course of his career just because of his tendencies. He’s kind of a classic left-handed power hitter. He hits a lot of balls hard to the pull side, even when they’re on the ground. I definitely see him benefitting from that next year.”

Despite his production at the plate, Pederson was a defensive liability in the outfield at times, so the Giants could try to limit his exposure by giving him more starts at designated hitter next year. Using him in that role would create more uncertainty for , a fellow left-handed hitter who is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his three-year contract.

La Stella, 33, recorded a .632 OPS over 60 games in another injury-marred season with the Giants in 2022, and he showed limited range and mobility in the infield after undergoing surgeries on both Achilles tendons last offseason. With Pederson back in the fold, San Francisco could try to trade La Stella this offseason, though moving him would likely be difficult due to his backloaded contract.

“Obviously, it was a really tough year for him with the surgeries,” Zaidi said. “I don’t think he ever felt quite right. We’re continuing to monitor his offseason. The reports are really positive. He feels really good. … With us bringing Joc back, it’s really important for Tommy to be able to play the field. To play not just first [base], but second and third as well, which he’s done for most of his career.” 

Pederson’s deal could be the first step in a huge offseason for the Giants, who have signaled their willingness to spend big on marquee free agents after falling short of expectations in 2022. San Francisco has already been widely linked to superstar , who unsurprisingly turned down a qualifying offer from the Yankees on Tuesday.