Pederson hoping for chance to play every day with Cubs
One night, Joc Pederson was scrolling through his phone, looking for a team that might be a good fit. A couple days later, he committed to the Cubs.
Pederson recounted the process of joining the Cubs on Friday, during a Zoom call with reporters from Mesa, Ariz.
"I would say it all happened fairly quick," Pederson said. "I had a few phone calls and things didn't go the way I wanted. So I was up at like 11, 12 at night and looking at my home and said, 'Dang, that could actually be a fit.'
"Called my agent first thing in the morning and then he got on the phone with (Cubs president) Jed (Hoyer), then Jed called me and we talked and he was like, 'All right, well I kind of want to work on this, let's get this done sooner than later.' I think within 48 hours, we knocked it out."
The two prevailing factors were the Cubs had an opening in left field after Kyle Schwarber signed with Washington, and Pederson was looking to get a chance to prove he's an every-day player, not someone who is only in the lineup against right-handed pitching.
"I was in contact with a few teams and I thought things were getting fairly close," he said. "It so happened, they changed their mind, I guess you could say, for the opportunity versus. lefties and wanted it to be more of a 100 percent a platoon role. Being able to get an opportunity was high on the priority list, especially taking another one-year deal."
Pederson, 28, has gotten 84 percent of his major league at bats against right-handed pitchers. He's hit .238 with 121 home runs against right-handers, and .191 with 9 home runs against lefties.
Pederson said he appreciated getting a phone call from Jason Heyward after the new deal was announced. He was also encouraged by a talk with manager David Ross.
"He (Ross) was super honest and he was really excited," Pederson said. "He was like, 'I didn't know we were going to get free agents of your caliber,' and stuff like that. Basically saying, 'Hey, I'm going to pencil you in there every day.'
"I want a real opportunity. It's going to be a lot of fun. There's no guarantee, but the opportunity is there."