Cubs' Updated Starting Lineup, Payroll After Reported Joc Pederson Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers' Joc Pederson celebrates after hitting a home run off San Francisco Giants' Kevin Gausman in the first inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Chicago Cubs added some power to their lineup Friday as they agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract with former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

With Pederson on board, the reigning National League Central champions could be an even bigger problem for opposing pitchers in 2021.

Here is a rundown of what Chicago's lineup could look like during the upcoming season:

  1. Ian Happ - CF
  2. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
  3. Kris Bryant - 3B
  4. Willson Contreras - C
  5. Javier Baez - SS
  6. Joc Pederson - LF
  7. Jason Heyward - RF
  8. Nico Hoerner - 2B

The Cubs also have a total payroll of $135.84 million, per Spotrac.

Pederson, 28, brings a fair amount of pop to the table and no shortage of playoff experience, which could make him a valuable piece of Chicago's lineup.

He hit just .190 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in a part-time role last regular season, but he came to life on the big stage, hitting .382 with two home runs and eight RBI during the playoffs en route to L.A. winning the World Series.

Pederson has also enjoyed regular-season success in the past. He was named an All-Star in his first full season in 2015 when he hit .210 with 26 homers and 54 RBI, and he enjoyed a career year in 2019, hitting .249 with 36 home runs and 74 RBI.

As of now, Pederson seems likely to hit in the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup, although he could move up against righties from time to time since he is a left-handed power hitter.

Also, trade rumors have surrounded third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras throughout the season. If one or both of them get moved before the 2021 season commences, Pederson could become a middle-of-the-order contributor for manager David Ross.

While the Cubs had a strong 2020 regular season, the playoffs were a disappointment, as they were upset by the upstart Miami Marlins in the NL Wild Card Round.

Signing a player with a winning pedigree like Pederson may be a sign that the Cubs desire a deeper run this season, although that may depend on whether they decide to keep the team together as it is currently constructed.

Chicago also has some major question marks in its starting rotation after parting ways with Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana, and the state of the rotation may have an even bigger impact on what the Cubs achieve in 2021.