One of the toughest parts of baseball is remembering that at the end of the day, it’s a business. Sometimes that means that tough decisions have to be made. And sometimes, that means parting ways with guys that fans and other players love. Dodgers fans have seen a lot of that over the last couple of years.
But when AJ Pollock was suddenly traded right before Opening Day, it hits Dodgers fans pretty hard. Pollock had won over a lot of fans since he signed his free-agent deal in 2019, but he also won over the clubhouse.
On a recent episode of the Holding Kourt podcast, Justin Turner spoke about that trade. He said that a lot of Dodgers players were shocked by it, and also spoke in-depth about what he meant to the team.
“You understand it’s a business and a possibility but when it happens, it just hits you. I was literally sick to my stomach this morning because we all love AJ and everything he brings, not only on the field … but the amount of respect he had from everyone. The way he chopped it up with guys, it was very playful and open. Kind of getting on one another, back and forth, and to find out he got traded, it hit a lot of us petty hard.”
JT also went on to talk about the process of Pollock leaving the Dodgers clubhouse at Spring Training. According to him, they didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. The trade happened essentially overnight, and he had cleaned out his locker when the team was on the backfield.
“And the other tough part was we found out about it in the morning. Obviously, AJ probably knew about it before any of us. He sent a text in the group just saying how much he loved us and loved playing with us, and thank you for everything and wishes us the best of luck.. …So that’s the [expletive] part, is didn’t even get to go up and give him a squeeze and tell him how much we love him and appreciate everything he’s done and wish him the best of luck.”
It’s an unfortunate part of that game, but it will always be there. Players will always come and go, so it’s about appreciating them while they’re here. The Dodgers certainly appreciated AJ Pollock and all that he did. His 2021 season was particularly impressive, posting the highest wRC+ of his entire career.
You’ll be missed, Pollo.
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