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Angels’ deal to acquire Joc Pederson from Dodgers falls through, per report

After modifying the original Mookie Betts trade, the Dodgers are no longer trading Joc Pederson to the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

UPDATE, FEB. 9: The deal between the Dodgers and Angels that was reportedly set to send outfielder Joc Pederson, pitcher Ross Stripling, and minor-league outfielder Andy Pages to the Halos in exchange for infielder Luis Rengifo and others has fallen through, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the alteration of the deal that sent Mookie Betts and David Price from Boston to Los Angeles played a role in the Dodgers choosing not to go through with the deal.

It should be interesting to see if the Dodgers try to smooth things over with Pederson and Stripling and keep them around for 2020. They already have quite a bit of depth in the outfield, with Pederson joining Betts, Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, Matt Beaty, and Kyle Garlick, among others, and in the starting rotation, where Stripling figuring to act as a potential reinforcement behind Price, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Alex Wood, and Julio Urías. Tony Gonsolin, Jimmy Nelson, and Dustin May join Stripling as strong rotation depth options behind the projected starting five.

The Angels have acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Dodgers, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday night. The deal will also send minor-league outfielder Andy Pages to the Angels with infielder Luis Rengifo heading to the Dodgers, per Passan and his new ESPN colleague Kiley McDaniel, and other players are also likely to change teams as part of the trade. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that Pederson was on the move.

The move comes in the aftermath of the blockbuster deal that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles on Tuesday night. It concludes a six-year Dodgers career for Pederson, whose name constantly seemed to come up in trade rumors, particularly once he was reduced mostly to platoon duty in the later years of his tenure. He has a .233/.339/.474 slash line with 123 homers over 2,379 career plate appearances, so he should add some extra thump to the Angels’ lineup. With that said, his production has come almost exclusively against right-handed pitching: he has a .242/.353/.507 career line with 114 homers against righties, compared to .188/.263/.310 with nine homers against lefties. He again struggled against them in 2019, but Dave Roberts played him almost exclusively against righties and he thrived, posting a career-best .249/.339/.538 slash line with 36 homers.

It should be interesting to see how the Angels approach a potential platoon situation; Yasiel Puig, Domingo Santana, and Hunter Pence are among the free-agent outfielders who could be good fits as platoon partners with Pederson, who has shown himself to be essentially unplayable against lefties up to this point. Once Jo Adell — ranked as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball — they’ll have another predicament on their hands, as they’ll have to decide which outfielder between Adell and Justin Upton sits against right-handers while Pederson plays. It may ultimately come down to what the Angels feel is a bigger price to pay: burning Adell’s service time or sitting Upton, who is entering the third season of a five-year, $106 million deal.

Pages, a 19-year-old international free agent from the Dominican Republic, hit .298/.398/.651 with 19 homers in 279 plate appearances for the Advanced Rookie Ogden Raptors in 2019. He’s basically a lottery ticket acquisition, but his presence in the deal means there’s likely another player heading back to the Dodgers who has not yet been reported as part of the trade.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Rengifo seems unlikely to crack the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster with Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Kiké Hernández, and Chris Taylor clearly ahead of him on the middle-infield depth chart, but he’s not far removed from being a highly-regarded prospect and seems like a guy the Dodgers could develop into a really good player. He struggled in his first taste of big-league action in 2019, hitting .238/.321/.364 with seven homers over 406 plate appearances while posting three defensive runs saved in 90 games at second base and one in 12 games at shortstop. Rengifo doesn’t appear to have exceptionally great contact or power-hitting skills, but he flashes impressive speed (41 stolen bases between three minor-league levels in 2018) and figures to become a plus defender at multiple positions. With Hernández set to become a free agent after this season, Rengifo could be in line to replace him as Los Angeles’ primary backup middle infielder.