Joc Pederson returns to Giants eager to get back to playoffs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Still miffed about missing the playoffs, Joc Pederson is determined to stick by the San Francisco Giants and help them return to their winning ways of 2021.

The outspoken outfielder accepted a $19.65 million, one-year qualifying offer from the Giants on Tuesday for the 2023 season.

“I think we definitely underperformed,” Pederson said. “We're going to get back to winning ballgames and back to the playoffs. I'm definitely looking forward to that.”

San Francisco finished 81-81 for third place in the NL West after a franchise-best 107 wins and a division title in 2021 before losing the best-of-five NL Division Series in five games to the rival Dodgers.

Pederson batted .274 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs this year, finding a groove with his swing down the stretch that was encouraging to see for Giants brass.

President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said there were discussions with Pederson's representatives about a multiyear contract, but one year ended up being best. Pederson did call it “a tough decision” because he could have landed with other contending clubs, but ultimately he had a comfort level with his hometown team that he called “probably the best I've been part of.”

“He was part of our Plan A for 2023. He was such an offensive force for us this past season," Zaidi said. “I think he's happy here. He had a good year, he wants to be here. That was never a doubt.”

The 30-year-old Pederson, who grew up in the Bay Area, won a World Series title with the Atlanta Braves before joining the Giants — so he was expecting another playoff run.

On Sept. 27, Pederson expressed his frustration about being out of the race.

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

A free agent can be given a qualifying offer only if he has been with the same team continuously since opening day and has never received a qualifying offer before.

Among other roster moves by San Francisco on Tuesday, the Giants acquired minor league infielder Brett Wisely from Tampa Bay for minor league outfielder Tristan Peters.

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Janie Mccauley, The Associated Press