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2021 Chicago Cubs: The North Siders Sign an Outfielder

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The 2021 Chicago Cubs have finally done something with all of the money they have saved by trading and non-tendering most of the 2020 roster. Today, they’ve added outfield depth in the form of former Dodgers outfielder, Joc Pederson. The deal is pending a physical.

After non-tendering Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs outfield was looking a little lean. There’s no doubt that Ian Happ would cover center on a daily basis with five-time Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward flanking Happ in right; left field remained questionable.

The 2021 Chicago Cubs did have the option of bringing In Miller up from AAA Iowa, and he still may get a chance. Even with the addition of Pederson, the Cubs lack outfield depth without Almora in the dugout. For the sake of this scenario, we’re just going to have to assume that Kris Bryant will eventually be traded this offseason, as rumors continue about him heading to Toronto, or possibly to the Mets.

2021 Chicago Cubs: What Does Joc Pederson Bring to Wrigley?

Although Pederson is listed solely as an outfielder, he also has some experience at first base, which could work well, now that Anthony Rizzo‘s primary backup – Victor Caratini – has been shuffled to San Diego in the Yu Darvish trade.

Pederson has ample experience in all three outfield positions, making him a tad more versatile than Schwarber (defensively) while keeping a left-handed bat in the lineup.

Pederson’s 2020 offensive stats were weak, batting just .190/.285/.397 in 121 at-bats last season. On the upswing (quite literally), Pederson did grab seven dingers while plating 16 RBIs, but that’s comparable to Schwarber’s 2020 numbers. Last season Schwarber stroked a very weak .188/.308/.393, but did add 11 homers and a total of 24 RBIs.

Pederson has one more year in the bigs than Schwarbr has, and he has made better use of his time, sporting a 10.6 WAR to Schwarber’s 5.4 WAR. Schwarber recently latched on with the Washington Nationals, joining former Cubs pitcher, Jon Lester.

2021 Chicago Cubs: Still Have a Long Way to Go

The addition of Pederson is minuscule compared to all of the dismantlings this organization has done over the last couple of months. The bullpen is still weak, the starting rotation is nearly non-existent, and I don’t think the 2021 Chicago Cubs are done shaving payroll yet.

Willson Contreras rumors still clutter social media, as d rumors about Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs have already said they didn’t plan on competing this year, but they have a long way to go if they even want to be competitive in 2022 – assuming there’s a season, considering the looming CBA expiration and labor tensions.

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main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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Ken Allison is the senior of two MLB Department Heads, as well as a writer and editor for Overtime Heroics. A life-long MLB fan, he's also written for CubsHQ and had the opportunity to try out for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.