Why the Mets should sign Joc Pederson and how he should be used

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants
New York Mets v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The New York Mets have an opportunity to add a difference-making piece to their team for next season in free agent outfielder Joc Pederson

Pederson is coming off his best season of his career in which he was named to his second All-Star team. In 2022, he hit .274 with 23 home runs, 70 RBIs, and a personal best 144 OPS+ with the San Francisco Giants. 

The Mets got a dose of his talents last year, when he had four hits, three home runs and eight RBIs in a 13-12 win by the Giants over the Mets on May 24 in San Francisco, more of a reason why he should don orange and blue in 2023 and perhaps beyond that too.

Joc Pederson adds needed fear in the Mets lineup as a left-handed home run threat. 

Right now, the Mets do not have a true left-handed hitting slugger in their lineup. Sure, the Mets have the batting champion Jeff McNeil in there, but the Mets dearly missed having a home run threat from the left side of the plate to protect Pete Alonso. Alonso led the majors with 16 intentional walks and not having that feared slugger was a reason.  

After a season where Alonso and Francisco Lindor had to carry the offense to a tune of a combined 238 RBIs in 2022 (the most by any pair of teammates in the majors), it would be wise for the Mets to bring someone in Pederson to protect them such that they get more pitches to hit. 

Baseball Savant would agree too. Pederson ranked in the 98th percentile with a 93.2 mph average exit velocity and a 52.1 percent hard hit rate, and was in the 96th percentile with an expected slugging percentage of .502. The Mets ranked in the bottom half of the majors in 2022 in both average exit velocity (tied for 19th) and hard-hit rate (21st), so Pederson would help the Mets on both regards. 

Pederson should be a starting outfielder if they do not re-sign Brandon Nimmo, otherwise he should be the left-handed designated hitter and a fourth outfielder. 

The beauty of how the Mets constructed their roster last year was one where a lot of versatility was exercised, and it allowed the Mets to do lots of different things to maximize results. Pederson would represent another example. Nearly their entire position group from last year is under contract, but it would be better with Pederson in Queens.

The Mets currently do not have a fourth outfielder on their roster if you exclude free agent Brandon Nimmo, and Buck Showalter can use Pederson in different ways.  

Pederson has played all three of the outfield positions during his career, but primarily left and center field. In the event the Mets fail to re-sign Nimmo (Nimmo is one of the team's two priorities among their own free agents to retain), he should be pencilled in as a starting outfielder, probably in right field with Starling Marte in center and Mark Canha in left. 

Showalter will play the matchups and give Mark Canha his share of days off if that trend from the second half continues. Pederson can spell him in left, especially when the Mets are facing right-handed starting pitchers. 

Pederson is a bit challenged defensively, so he should serve as a designated hitter, especially on days where Francisco Alvarez is catching, such that they could get both of those sluggers in the lineup and make the lineup much more formidable and balanced between righties and lefties, and contact and power.  

Next. Why this Mets prospect should start on Opening Day next season. dark