As the Dodgers swung a blockbuster deal for Mookie Betts Tuesday evening, they made yet another separate deal with the Halos. The Angels acquired All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson, minor league outfielder Andy Pages, and a player to be named in exchange for infielder Luis Rengifo and a player to be named. The deal gives the Angels a veteran to start in right field and could very well be confirmation that future right fielder Jo Adell will begin the season at Triple-A.
Joc Pederson, 27, is heading into his final season before free agency and the Angels will hope he can provide some power from the left-side of the plate. Pederson is coming off a season in which he slugged 36 home runs in 450 at bats for the Dodgers. An All-Star during his 2015 rookie season, Pederson finished last year with career bests in batting, slugging, home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored. He’ll be a great addition to an outfield with MVP Mike Trout and Justin Upton, who is returning from an injury-plagued 2019 and hoping for a comeback season. Pederson will join Brain Goodwin and Michael Hermosillo in the mix for the starting right field position vacated by Kole Calhoun.
Another thing to consider for the Angels, with Ohtani back on mound, is that he could miss additional days as a designated hitter before and after his pitching performances. The addition of Pederson provides the Angels depth to rotate Upton or Pederson into the DH role even after Jo Adell is promoted by Angels late spring or early summer.
Luis Rengifo was acquired as a minor-leaguer from Tampa Bay in exchange for C.J. Cron a couple years ago and played very well in middle infield for Angels last season. He is a speedy infielder, plus defender, and versatile addition to a Dodgers team looking to make a deep run in 2020. The Angels will now look to David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella to play more positions other than second base when Simmons and Rendon need rest.
Veteran free agents Brock Holt, Brad Miller, Tim Beckham, Addison Russell, and Zack Cozart are all still available and could make good late offseason pick-ups for the Angels. Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons is going into his final season under current contract and top prospects at the position are all at Single-A and Rookie League levels and a few years away from making an impact with the Angels.
While we don’t know what additional acquisitions that Angels may make in the coming days, the addition of Joc Pederson to the Angels order will give additional protection to Trout, Rendon, Ohtani, and Upton. Billy Eppler has improved this lineup greatly from previous years and this move will solidify their chances at competing for playoff spot in 2020.
As a side note, Pederson’s eldest brother, Champ, has Down Syndrome and has long considered Albert Pujols his favorite player. This was apparent during the 2015 All-Star festivities and now Pederson and Pujols will have the opportunity to play the entire season as teammates. The Pujols Family Foundation has formed special experiences for children and families with Down Syndrome in their family.