The Dodgers still haven’t completed the mega trade that would make them the overwhelming favorites to win the National League pennant, but they made progress elsewhere Friday.
First, the club won its arbitration case against Joc Pederson. The outfielder will be paid $7.75 million for the 2020 season — not the $9.5 million he filed to receive after earning $5 million in 2019. The team then agreed to a two-year, $13.4 million contract with utility man Chris Taylor, buying out his final years of arbitration.
The resolutions leave reliever Pedro Báez as the Dodgers’ lone remaining arbitration case.
Pederson isn’t expected to make his money with the Dodgers. A trade that would send Pederson and right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling to the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo is on hold because the blockbuster deal between the Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins that would land Mookie Betts in Los Angeles encountered an obstacle at the finish line.
The five-player trade was agreed upon Tuesday, but the Red Sox balked when they reviewed prospect Brusdal Graterol’s medical records. Boston was to receive Graterol, a 21-year-old pitcher, from the Twins. Graterol underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed two months with a shoulder impediment last season.
The Red Sox were also to acquire Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers, who were sending starter Kenta Maeda to the Twins. The Dodgers would receive Betts, starter David Price, and cash from the Red Sox to cover some of Price’s contract. Boston is now seeking more from the Twins in return for Betts, the 2018 American League MVP, and Price, a former Cy Young Award winner, as they prioritize sinking below the competitive balance tax threshold.
If all goes as planned, the Angels would get Pederson coming off a stout season. The 27-year-old slugged a career-high 36 home runs in 2019, though all came against right-handed pitchers because he was relegated to a platoon role. The left-handed hitter accumulated just 50 plate appearances against left-handers. The former top prospect and 2015 All-Star is slated to become a free agent after the season.
Taylor, 29, will make $5.6 million in 2020 and $7.8 million in 2021 before becoming a free agent. He batted .262 with 12 home runs and a .794 on-base-plus-slugging percentage while logging innings at six positions in 124 games last season.