Braves fan favorite and postseason hero signs with key NL rival

Sadly, one of the key pieces of the Braves' 2021 World Series run just signed with a team that could give Atlanta trouble.
World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Six
World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Six / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

While the Atlanta Braves were clearly the best team in the National League in 2023 during the regular season, the talk of the league in the postseason was the Arizona Diamondbacks who rode their exciting young core led by Corbin Carroll all the way to the World Series. That was certainly bad news for Braves fans, but this Diamondbacks team is really fun and their unexpected ousting of the Phillies in the NLCS was at least some consolation.

The Diamondbacks' postseason run wasn't all that dissimilar to the Braves' World Series campaign in 2021. They were largely dismissed because of the big boys in the league, had some roster issues along the way, and both teams made trade deadline moves that proved to be real difference makers. In the case of the Braves, one of the moves that arguably made the largest impact was when they were able to acquire Joc Pederson from the Cubs.

Pederson is still loved in Atlanta even today. While his time with the Braves was short, he came up with some big performances when the team needed it most both in the regular season and the postseason, was great for the Braves' clubhouse, and had scores of grown Braves fans wearing pearls as good luck charms. For a brief moment in time, Joc-tober was in full effect.

Sadly, Joc moved on to the Giants where he had mixed success before hitting free agency this offseason. Unfortunately, Joc's new team is bad news for the Braves as it sounds like those pesky Diamondbacks are about to sign him to a one year deal.

Joc Pederson signing with the Diamondbacks could haunt the Braves

While nothing is official yet, the word currently is that the two sides have a tentative agreement in place on a one year deal that would guarantee him at least $12.5 million thanks to the buyout on his mutual option for 2025. After a stellar 2022 season with San Francisco where he made the All-Star team and posted an .874 OPS, Joc struggled last year although that clearly didn't seem to deter Arizona from signing him.

Even if Joc doesn't return completely to form with the Diamondbacks, the signing is still bad news for Atlanta. The Diamondbacks already have difference makers on both sides of the ball in Corbin Carroll, Zac Gallen, Ketel Marte, Merrill Kelly, and Christian Walker. What they needed was some more playoff experience and glue for their clubhouse. Joc has that in spades.

On top of Joc's impact alone, the Diamondbacks signing him indicates that they clearly don't think that their World Series run was a fluke. It is unlikely that Arizona is going to be huge players in free agency given their market, but they are clearly willing to try and take advantage of their current position and stay reasonably aggressive. That is the long way of saying that the Braves have another team in the National League they have to worry about not just in 2024, but for years to come from the looks of things.

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