The Cubs’ selloff has begun.
Late Thursday, the Cubs announced they’ve traded left fielder Joc Pederson to the Braves.
Coming to Chicago is minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball. No money was exchanged in the deal, so Atlanta is on the hook for the remainder of Pederson's salary.
This could be the first of many trades in the next few weeks for the Cubs. They were positioned to buy ahead of the July 30 trade deadline a few weeks ago but a recent 11-game losing streak and 6-19 overall stretch changed their direction.
Atlanta (44-45) has a similar record as the Cubs (44-46), but their division is more winnable. The Braves are four games back off the first-place Mets in the NL East.
The Cubs trail the first-place Brewers by eight games and sit third in the NL Central.
Atlanta could flip Pederson before the deadline if things don't go well in the next few weeks, however.
Pederson joined the Cubs over the winter on a one-year, prove-it deal, with a mutual option for 2022, following seven seasons with the Dodgers. The 29-year-old, who’s struggled against left-handed pitching in his career, got the chance to play every day.
Pederson took over in left field for Kyle Schwarber, whom the Cubs non-tendered last December. He turned in a .230/.300/.418 slash line with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 73 games with the Cubs this season.
Schwarber made his first career All-Star team this season with Washington.
Ball was Atlanta's No. 12 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and now No. 29 in the Cubs' system. Atlanta drafted the 23-year-old in the 24th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, out of Dallas Baptist University.
Ball is a career .278/.377/.530 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs in 115 career minor-league games. He hit .207/.354/.396 with six home runs and 30 RBIs this season in 53 games with Atlanta’s high-A affiliate.
Pederson hit better against lefties than righties this season, although all 11 of his home runs have come against right-handers.
He offers Atlanta, who recently lost outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. (torn right ACL) for the season, a lefty power bat to counter New York’s right-handed rotation trio of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker.
Pederson went 2-for-12 with four strikeouts against the Mets in June.