It was an awkward week for both Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling, to say the least. As they have throughout their entire careers, they both showed up to Camelback Ranch to begin yet another Spring Training with the Dodgers.
However, just under two weeks ago, both players thought their time in Dodger blue had officially come to an end.
The infamous Mookie Betts trade is nearing the two-week mark of when the news broke for the first time. Along with the trade for Betts, the Dodgers made a separate trade with the Angels. In the deal, LA was sending both Pederson and Stripling to Anaheim for Luis Rengifo and other prospects.
For a week, the plan was for Pederson and Stripling to be Angels.
Nearly a week after the initial Betts trade was announced, a brand new re-worked trade was agreed to. Betts and David Price came to LA, and it looked like everything would finally fall into place.
That is, until the Angels called off their own trade with the Dodgers.
Arte Moreno, the owner of the Angels, said that he didn’t like how the process of the trade panned out, and decided to back out of the deal. By doing so, Pederson and Stripling remained Dodgers, thus putting themselves in a very awkward situation.
Can you imagine? Showing up to Spring Training just a week after your own team tried to trade you? Luckily for LA, it looks like there are no hard feelings between the players and the team.
Dodgers beat reporters caught up with both Stripling and Pederson in Arizona to discuss what happened.
Joc Pederson said he got texts from Dave Roberts, #Dodgers teammates, members of ownership saying goodbye when news of trade to Angels broke. "It's a little awkward coming back. ... But I'm excited to be here, ready to win a World Series."— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 15, 2020
Joc Pederson said it wasn't until 30 minutes before #Dodgers announced trade with Boston that he knew he wasn't being traded. "It was kind of up in the air the whole time ... Until that happened I honestly thought I was going to be on the Angels."— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 15, 2020
There’s still a chance Pederson can be traded this upcoming season. He has one year left on his contract, and he could be a valuable piece for a contending team. As of now, he’s happy to be with LA, and he’s expected to play a huge role this upcoming season.
Dave Roberts spoke with the media yesterday, saying he plans to platoon both Pederson and A.J. Pollock in left field this season. Pederson will likely start against righties, with Pollock starting against lefties.
It was a career year for Pederson in 2019. He had career bests across the board, including 36 home runs and an OPS of .876. All of his damage came against righties, as all of his 36 homers were hit against them. He only had 49 at-bats against LHP, striking out nearly 1⁄3 of the time and hitting only .224.
Like Pederson, there are no hard feelings between Stripling and the Dodgers. He knows it’s a business, and is excited to be with the team to start camp. He spoke with Alanna Rizzo about the trade process and what went through his mind.
Some irony in regards to the trade, Stripling was actually recording an episode of his podcast with Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon before the original trade went down.
To be clear: Stripling didn’t know about the trade when they recorded the episode. It was a coincidence. https://t.co/vu7Bs1uVTC— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) February 15, 2020
Not only did Stripling discuss the trade with the Angels, he was also very vocal about the Astros and their sign-stealing saga. He said a lot of Dodgers players watched the press-conference in the morning.
Stripling: "I think a lot of us are looking forward to 50 years from now telling our grandkids we played the game the right way. I hope they know they can't say that because they didn't."— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 14, 2020
If you’re wondering whether or not Stripling had intentions of throwing at an Astros player while with the Angels.... the answer would have been yes.
When he thought he was being traded to Angels, Stripling said he thought about how he would face the Astros in the NL West and thought about whether he would intentionally hit some hitter(s) with a pitch: "I would lean toward yes." Right time, right place.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 14, 2020
In regards to the Astros cheating scandal, here’s a few more tidbits.
Kenley Jansen spoke about it, not holding anything back either, calling it the “weakest punishment in the history of sports” and saying that what they did is worse than gambling and using steroids.
Kenley Jansen spoke his mind about the #Astros situation this morning. He called their punishment the weakest in the history of sports. He said their cheating is worse than steroids and gambling. And he wondered why José Altuve would sit on a slider against Aroldis Chapman.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) February 15, 2020
As I’m sure most of you saw or heard yesterday, Cody Bellinger voiced his frustrations with the scandal, calling out the Astros owner and their team as a whole. Today, Carlos Correa clapped back, saying that Bellinger needs to “get informed”. Here’s what he had to say to The Athletic.