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Dodgers Rumor: Increased Chatter Surrounding A.J. Pollock

Arizona outfielder AJ Pollock.

Ken Rosenthal of The Atheltic reports that he is hearing increasing chatter surrounding the Dodgers and free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. He also said there is no indication a deal is close.

Pollock, a 31-year-old, right-handed hitting, outfielder, has been with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the past 7 seasons. He is a career .281/.338/.467 hitter with 74 home runs, 264 RBI, .346 wOBA, 113 wRC+, and 17.2 wins above replacement.

He has developed the reputation of an injury-prone player after playing only 12 games in 2016, 112 in 2017, and 113 in 2018. When he is on the field, he is a very good player who would provide a nice upgrade for the lineup.

In 2015, Pollock’s last full season, he was an MVP candidate as he hit .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, a .371 wOBA, 131 wRC+, and posted a 6.8 WAR.

According to Baseball Savant, Pollock ranks above the major league average in exit velocity, hard hit %, sprint speed, and outs above average, a defensive metric for outfielders.

As Rosenthal points out, the Dodgers’ depth gives them the ability to add talented but oft-injured players.

This isn’t the first time the Dodgers have been connected to Pollock. Rosenthal and Buster Olney have previously linked the Dodgers to Pollock this off-season. Here’s what Rosenthal said on Pollock and the Dodgers on Dec. 17, 2018.

For the moment, the team is committed to Cody Bellinger in center, but A.J. Pollock’s ability to play that position might actually make him a better free-agent fit than Harper, provided the Dodgers indeed trade other outfielders. Pollock has not played more than 113 games in a season since 2015, but the Dodgers – due to their depth and versatility – could withstand his absences more easily than most clubs. He would be the position-player version of left-hander Rich Hill, valued for bursts of excellence in limited action. And he would be considerably less expensive than Harper, likely commanding a contract in the three- or four-year range at around $15 million per season.

Pollock would give the Dodgers another true centerfielder on their roster, which is a position they could badly use some depth at. The Dodgers could also believe that sliding Pollock to a corner outfield spot could help keep him healthy during the season.

Since Pollock was given a qualifying offer by the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers would have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. They will also be adding a draft pick from losing Yasmani Grandal to the Milwaukee Brewers.

If the Dodgers were to sign Pollock, he would immediately become one of their more talented players. The biggest concern for him is staying on the field.

Update:

Ken Rosenthal confirms that the Dodgers are indeed talking to A.J. Pollock and it’s not just speculation surrounding them.

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Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

13 Comments

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  1. Many pointed out that Pollock’s numbers are inflated playing in Chase Field. If healthy and can be on the field, there should not be any reason why he couldn’t excel playing elsewhere. If the LH hitters on our team had the chance or could show they can hit LHP, that’s one thing. Still a lineup overbalanced with LH is not ideal and in Dodger’s case, perhaps only Bellinger and Seager are the ones who have shown in the past that they can handle LHP. But the rest of them are marginal and platooning in the Dodger’s mind would be necessary.

  2. Pollock career slash line away from Chase Field: .266/.324/.434/.758; in 2018: .235/.288/.451/.739; and reverse splits against LH pitching .221/.277/.464/.742. Is this the type of FA Dodgers want to sign to a large contract, lose a draft pick, and forfeit $500K in International spending? No thanks, both Kiké and CT3 are better. Sign Marwin Gonzalez to play 2b/SS and move Taylor full time to OF with Kiké as the super utility guy.

    • My guess is that Dodgers probably don’t end up with Pollock anyway if he is indeed seeking a 3 or 4 year deal. In 2017, CT3 played well and excelled in CF and he pretty much settled in there and the results from 2017 speak for themselves. So if they did decide to let Taylor be the regular CF, OK by me, Bellinger could return to 1st where I believe he is already a Gold Glove guy there and Muncy? In the right deal perhaps he could be moved. Marwin Gonzalez would be a good pick up and be a fit for 2nd/SS if need be. I believe he’s a switch hitter if I am not mistaken too.

  3. If they sign AJ that’s more evidence Friedman is just continuing his platooning. It won’t ever get us to the promise land. Have to let guys play when it counts. Another .250 injured hitter won’t help us. We need a guy like Kluber to put us over the top. All the guys that are proven are off the market except Machado and Harper. We lost out on most guys cause they went to the yankees. We’re worse than before off season started. Not going well.

    • Danny, to be fair the off season is still in force, yet I do realize that ST is closing in on us within a month or so. 1st game if I recall is on Feb. 23. I can only hope that Freidman and Co. saw how that platooning did not bode well for Dodgers in the WS against Boston. Red Sox were the better team and had a lineup that was steady and was prepared as a result of being on the field together for most of the time. Red Sox didn’t employ that platooning strategy in the way Dodgers did and the results spoke for themselves.

      • The Red Sox clearly won the WS because they out coached the Dodgers, the platoon system obviously a part of that. “Being on the field” together is crazy. All 25 guys played 162 games for 7 months. As a former minor league player I can assure you ths team chemistry and such was a non issue.

        • Liar you never played the minors. I was the best pitcher of my time I could’ve played if i wanted to I was good enough you know. My baseball knowledge is superior to everyone here

        • It does take 25 guys to be a part of winning it all. However, in these last 2 WS the teams that had basically the same lineups, meaning a solid starting 8 position players who were not made into marginal ones are who won these WS. yes, you account for inevitable injuries here and there and a few rest days. But you were NOT in the club house so you cannot have a real picture of what may have taken place, such as internal quiet rumblings over playing time and how many players were used from one position on the field to another.

  4. I’ve been all but begging for this signing since the beginning of FA. He is a perfect fit for our teams needs. $ not a factor, I’d have to even debate Pollock a better signing then Harper. Far superior defensively and in his prime I’d argue the better overall player. People like to criticize him, but I’ll take a guy that plays hard and gets doing so any day. With the depth he’d get a lot more rest then in AZ. I don’t mind losing the compensation pick because we received one for Grandall.

    • So you are good with an OF’er who is an average hitter away from hitter friendly Chase Field, who can’t stay on the field, whose defense is in decline, and will be paid about $15MM more (a guess) than Kiké? Dodgers should not pay him for what he has accomplished, but for what is will accomplish. I hope this is just another baseless rumor.

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