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Susan Slusser discusses impact of Joc Pederson’s transition from outfield to first base



© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants’ defense last year was nothing short of shambolic.

But, with one move alone, that figures to change. Joc Pederson is expected to see time at first base this season. Based on his performance last season alone in the outfield, that should improve the team’s defense.

Susan Slusser joined Tolbert & Copes on Tuesday and discussed Pederson’s move from outfield to first base, a proposition he didn’t express much excitement about in the past.

“We were talking about the defense earlier, and I was talking about the outfield being so much better,” Slusser said. “I was very tempted to just say just like the one position. I mean, the stats show it… Okay, it’s Joc Pederson. I’ll say it. I mean, he cost them, it was something like -11 defensive runs saved and the outfield as a whole it was like -18 or something. So it was mostly him.”

While that might sound harsh, Slusser also pointed out that Pederson looks to have come into camp with a proactive focus on his fitness.

That has been noticed.

“I will say, Joc looks in much better shape this year,” Slusser said. “I think he takes some pride in the fact that he’s got kind of a dad bod. But he came in slimmer. He said he cut down on the carbs, cut out some of the sugar.”

Perhaps the most important point of note is that Pederson, according to Slusser, has looked excited about the proposition of playing first base.

That has not always been the case in the past, when he showed some hesitancy towards a potential move there. That resistance seems to have abated.

He’s clearly relishing getting a chance to play some first base, which last year, he didn’t always look thrilled when he was out there taking ground balls at first. This year, he seems like he’s totally on board. He did have a very bad experience where he got thrown in there in an emergency once with the Dodgers.

He looks like he’s having fun when he’s doing it, like he’s totally on board. So I might have to be besmirching his reputation as an outfielder a bit, but he definitely looks like he’s in better condition and he’s certainly taken to first base.

The addition of Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto to the outfield also lessens the need for someone like Pederson to spend time there. The Giants are spending $44.65 million combined on the three players, and another $6.1 million on Mike Yastrzemski.

The hope will be that offensive and defensive production improves in the outfield this season, even without that guy in the Bronx.

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks weekdays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.