2. Joc Pederson: 2 Years, $25 Million
Remember when Joc Pederson was about to get overpaid because of his heroics during the 2021 playoffs?
Just two months later, that feels like a slice of the mid-1990s. There was a time when we actually played baseball? On the field? You’re yanking my chain.
All kidding aside, the dust has settled on Pederson a bit, and he’ll likely be competing with a number of similar free agents with a dwindling number of weeks to go to find a home when the MLB lockout ends. During this speed run, we predict Pederson will settle for two years of security and forego three.
Considering we’re feeling kind to the Yankees, we’re going to go out on a slight limb and project him here, now that his price has fallen slightly. After all, the Yanks could’ve used him prior to 2021 and midway through the season, so we’re going to call the third time the charm here.
Our plan for Pederson is basically the Seiya Suzuki Plan Lite; Joey Gallo moves to center for 40 games next year, pending an injury to Aaron Hicks. Aaron Judge gets 10 DH days. Giancarlo Stanton gets time off. Judge, Stanton, Gallo and Hicks presumably all miss some time. All in all, Pederson ends up playing 100 games in a Yankee uniform next season, then makes some fairly crucial appearances as long as they make the postseason, where he mashes.
Say goodbye to Brett Gardner. Finally. We think. We really do. We’re not just saying this out loud to convince ourselves of it.
Just ask yourself who you’d rather have filling out the outfield: Pederson, while sliding Gallo to center, or Kevin Pillar backing up Hicks? We rest our case.