Sunday, March 26 2023

Either with Giants or elsewhere, Pederson eager for playoff return originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — A lot of what happened Tuesday night at Oracle Park fit in with the plan the Giants had going into this season.

Logan Webb won his 15th game and Camilo Doval capped a strong night for the bullpen, one that included a very good performance from Tyler Rogers. Joc Pederson hit his 23rd homer and Brandon Crawford led a solid defensive effort. The Giants beat the Rockies 5-2, improving to 7-1 during a late-September stretch that always looked like it would be the softest on their schedule.

This is how Farhan Zaidi, the since-departed Scott Harris, Gabe Kapler and everyone else pictured things going in late September. Except for the fact that the win only got them back to two games under .500 and helped push postseason elimination off another day.

That might be a small consolation prize for some Giants over the next eight games, but Pederson won’t be counted among the group eyeing 81 wins.

“That’s irrelevant to me, honestly,” he said Tuesday night. “Yeah, I mean, you’re either in the playoffs or you’re not in the playoffs and when you’re in the playoffs anything can happen. I don’t think it matters being .500 or not. I would rather be under .500 and be in the playoffs if that was the case.

“Playoff baseball is a lot of fun, it’s a whole different adrenaline, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to participate in it eight times. You just can’t take it for granted. I’ll come back next year and continue to work hard and find a way to get back in the playoffs.”

One of the bigger questions of the offseason will be, who will he be doing that work for? Zaidi has made it clear he would like Pederson back and has said he would try and discuss an extension with his long-time player and friend before the end of the season, but with a week to go, there’s no sign of traction.

Pederson said all the right things after hitting a leadoff homer that helped the Giants top the Rockies for the fifth time in nine days, calling this “a fluke year” for the organization and saying the Giants have been “first class” and that it’s been really fun to play back home.

But when asked directly if he would like to come back, Pederson didn’t offer any hints.

“It’s a really cool organization,” he said. “I’ve played for four really awesome organizations. I don’t know, I guess we’ll see what happens in the offseason.”

The Giants would have a huge hole in their lineup without Pederson, although he has given some of those gains back defensively. He is just their third outfielder since the Barry Bonds days to hit at least 23 homers in a season and if he were to return he would again be a key piece against right-handed pitching.

But as much as the Giants have a decision to make on how they value Pederson’s overall game going forward, Pederson has a call to make, too. He has played eight previous seasons and made the playoffs every time, and he came to San Francisco with 79 career postseason games under his belt, along with a “Joctober” nickname.

RELATED: Davis acquisition continues to pay off in big way for Giants

For the first time since Pederson made his debut in 2015, he will be watching the postseason from the sidelines. He intends to be back in the mix next year, either in San Francisco or elsewhere. It was clear on Tuesday that Pederson’s offseason decision will be guided by that desire to get back into contention.

“I like playing in the playoffs. I signed up here after this team won 107 games expecting to compete again,” he said. “Things didn’t go our way, it happens, but I don’t enjoy not playing meaningful baseball.”

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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