Joc Pederson spent a decade in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and made some close friends during his time with the franchise before moving on in free agency last offseason.
Before he left, Pederson played a key role in helping the Dodgers reach their first World Series in 2017. Two years later, the Dodgers found out their opponent that year, the Houston Astros, were involved in one of the biggest sports cheating scandals of all-time.
Pederson was finally able to win a ring with the Dodgers in 2020, but the stain of the 2017 season still remains.
Although Pederson left the Dodgers to sign with the Chicago Cubs, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in July.
The Dodgers and Braves met in the National League Championship Series and Pederson helped his new club defeat his former teammates to send them to the World Series. That has given Pederson another opportunity to face the Astros.
After the Dodgers were eliminated, a few of the Dodgers who Pederson is close with went up to him and offered encouragement to defeat Houston, via The Players’ Tribune:
It’s a couple of former teammates I’m really close to, coming up to me postgame and saying, “Hey — I love you. Now go beat the Astros for us.”
If the Dodgers were able to win the 2017 World Series, Pederson likely would have been named MVP. That season changed the legacy for so many players and robbed the likes of Andre Ethier and Rich Hill the opportunity to win a championship.
It would have changed the narrative from opposing fans calling the 2020 championship a “fake ring” due to the shortened season.
While the sting of that season might never fully go away, there would be a bit of justice if that remains the Astros only championship in their history, and it appears some of the Dodgers players feel that way as well.
Pederson was open to re-signing
When Pederson entered free agency, the expectation was he would not return to L.A. because of the lack of available playing time as he sought a larger role.
He ended up signing a one-year contract worth $10 million with the Cubs, who gave him a starting job, but Pederson recently claimed he would have been open to staying in L.A., which goes against he previous words.
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