Cubs trade outfielder Joc Pederson to Atlanta Braves
The Cubs traded away Joc Pederson Thursday evening, sending the veteran outfielder to the Atlanta Braves for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball.
Ball was rated as the Braves’ No. 19 prospect by MLB.com. He is a 6-foot-6, 240-pound power-hitting first baseman who bats left-handed and throws right-handed.
Ball just turned 23 last week and was originally selected by the Braves in the 24th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He hit 17 homers in his first year of pro ball in 2019, posting a .329 average and 1.023 OPS in 62 games.
This season, Ball is slashing .207/.354/.396 (.750 OPS) with 6 homers and 30 RBI in 53 games with Advanced Class-A.
Pederson, 29, signed with the Cubs over the winter in an effort to showcase himself as an everyday player and not a platoon-only option against right-handed pitchers. He rebounded from a slow start and a wrist injury to become a stable presence in the lineup for the Cubs, locking down the leadoff spot and playing nearly every day.
Pederson will end his Cubs tenure with a .230 average, .300 on-base percentage and .718 OPS. He hit 11 homers and drove in 39 runs in 73 games.
His departure leaves a hole in the outfield for the Cubs, but David Ross has several options at his disposal to fill the role. Kris Bryant and Patrick Wisdom can both play left field (with the other holding down third base) and Ian Happ could also slide over and give way to Jake Marisnick in center field on a more regular basis. Veteran outfielder Rafael Ortega represents another option.
Dealing away Pederson made a lot of sense for the Cubs as Jed Hoyer’s front office navigates what should be an interesting next couple of weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Pederson was a free agent at the end of the season and the Cubs took their shot that Ball might develop into an asset for the franchise.