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Is A.J. Pollock on the Dodgers in 2020?

The key free agent acquisition seems old overnight.

Obviously, A.J. Pollock’s 2019 postseason was complete disaster. Furthermore, Pollock’s entire 2019 campaign was rather ordinary in the wake of signing a five-year, $50 million dollar contract with Los Angeles in January.

Pollock’s statistics in the 2019 NLDS – or lack thereof – are rather easy to review and put in plain view in tweet below. Notably, Pollock tallied just a 0.2 bWAR in 86 games for the Dodgers in the 2019 regular season.

Equally important, Pollock is due $15 million in 2020 — a raise from his $4 million contract number this past season. Therefore it’s worth asking the question, will A.J. Pollock be a Dodger in 2020?

Beyond the obvious rash of rather short-term memory emotions, there are several things that complicate the answer.

Pollock Is A Defensive Liability

First and foremost is looking at Pollock with the glove, and not the bat. Remember, A.J. Pollock was signed to be the Dodgers’ center fielder. Indeed, when the Dodgers took him aboard as a free agent; part of the package they were getting included a player who won a Gold Glove award in 2015 in center.

Now, a case can be made that Pollock is the fifth best player at that spot on the current roster. Arguably, here are the players in a tight spot one should want to see based on recent defensive metrics:

  1. Cody Bellinger
  2. Alex Verdugo
  3. Chris Taylor
  4. Kiké Hernandez

Then, if your hand is forced; you likely play Pollock in center. Moreover, Pollock was -1.0 dWAR in the outfield in 2019. While this was the first time in his career it occurred, the 31-year old was relegated to left field by season’s end due to decreased range.

Finally, with a startling lack of versatility; your options are limited with Pollock moving forward. He will enter his age-32 season as a player who can only play left field. Currently, there are few if any Dodgers players who dot the roster than can really only play one position. For those you can name, they are able to provide their value offensively.

Can Pollock Hit Enough To Justify His Contract?

While he didn’t entirely fall of a cliff until the 2019 postseason, there’s reason for pause on Pollock offensively. While batted ball data profiles don’t show anything alarming for Pollock in 2019, he simply didn’t ‘wow’ with the bat this past season.

Pollock’s slugging, on-base, and subsequent OPS were below his career averages in all three categories. Additionally, he was once a double-digit base stealer, but it looks like the sunset has come upon. This past year Pollock managed to steal only five bases after stealing at least 12 and as many as 39 during every semi-full season since 2013. Although Pollock avoided a complete statistical collapse on paper in 2019, he basically treaded water.

Simply put, players aren’t usually huge rebound candidates in their age-32 season. Certainly if it happens, players at that age aren’t expected to string together three or even two of those types of seasons consecutively. With two of the three tools that made him so valuable coming into the contract (glove, speed) and a third tool looking to be waning, is Pollock worth the risk in 2020 at $15 million?

As always, we will let you decide.

State Your Case: Is Pollock at Dodger in 2020?

Finally, it’s time to decide if Pollock is in a Dodgers uniform in 2020. You’re the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s November, and it’s time to have a conversation with your internal scouts about A.J. Pollock.

First, you need to decide whether or not you keep Pollock at all. With D.J. Peters on the rise rapidly in the minor leagues, and the current cast we all know in the outfield; can Pollock provide you with enough value to be on the roster in 2020?

Second, if you have decided you want to end the Pollock experiment altogether. You look to trade Pollock for a minimal return (those other scouting departments saw those postseason at-bats, too) and likely be forced to eat around 50 percent of the contract. Then, you would risk paying another team to take him off your hands and let them gamble with less to lose on the rebound candidate.

After signing Pollock, you’re limited in your options moving forward. What is the best course of action in dealing with the contract he’s signed to, and what do you see happening in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

41 Comments

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  1. I agree he’ll be a Dodger in 2020, but if they could unload him that might be Andrew’s greatest work yet. It was a rather poor signing at the time and with one year in a four year (with a player option year 5) contract in, it even appears more egregious.

  2. One of the stupidest acquisitions by the Dodgers in a long time. Pollock was obviously over the hill, overvalued, and fragile. 2019 simply proved the case.

    • I like how you leave in there, under the radar, that a team might pick up 50% of his contract. I sincerely doubt that at this point, except if maybe it’s a symbolic return to Arizona.

  3. Hard to understand the Dodgers thinking when they signed him to a 5-year deal especially with all his previous injuries..now he’s an expensive left field platoon with Joc..

    • Just as they overrated Joe Kelly because of what he did against them in the 2018 World, the Dodgers greatly overvalued Pollock, apparently because he hit 9 homers against them during the 2018 season. Pollock was much worse than Puig, particularly in the postseason. I would give him the Carl Crawford treatment.

    • Pollack was a disappointment for sure I still can’t believe when Robert’s put him in as a pinch hitter after being 0 for 13 in the playoffs Robert’s sent a broken horse out to race, make room he has to go count your looses.

  4. Hopefully he will have a comeback and the are 29 teams I would like to see him have that chance. It is time to bite the bullet on him and eat a good portion of the salary if necessary. The Dodgers have eaten bigger salaries for mistakes in the past
    What are the options to keeping him-trade Beatty or Rios as he takes a roster spot? Unload either Taylor or Hernandez to keep him? Get rid of Pederson to increase his left field playing time?
    To me the question is simple, what redeeming baseball ability does he possess to keep him? My opinion is none. Even he equals his best playing days is he a better choice than Taylor, Hernandez, Pederson, Beatty or Rios? ( I won’t mention the other outfielders as in his best days he couldn’t carry their bat or glove)

  5. Both Kelly and Pollock were big mistakes. They each had spurts of usefulness during the year, but neither was worth what was paid and what will be due in the future. There were other players on the roster who could have been plugged in to do the same without the cost. From the beginning we all predicted that they would be similar to prior seasons, (Kelly erratic, Pollock injured) and that proved to be true.

  6. what the hell was friedman thinking,signing the over the hill gang. blew a lot of money,50m to policker,. pay him out of friedmans,and d.r. salary and that shit will not happen again. way to many old farts on rooster.

  7. Did he come with a warranty? Can he be returned for credit? 🙂

    I do not see him playing full time even if he is not injured?

    If I were the front office, I would certainly find out what other teams would need to take him. He might fit best as a DH in the American league.

  8. The FO obviously saw something in him – and Kelly – that we in the peanut gallery did not. And the FO is certainly not interested in admitting mistakes so eating a contract is probably not going to happen. But the last thing the Dodgers need is another post season underperformer to run out onto the field in October. Maybe he could transition into the Utley/Freese slot (w/o the cred of being a post season performer) or perhaps a roving minor league instructor? Or another slightly overcompensated Assistant GM? Or maybe Stan Kasten’s paid companion? You know, someone to keep Kasten away from the media so the fans won’t hear about the Dodgers real plan – to fill the seats and replace the Braves on the all-time post season futility list.

  9. The lack of baseball knowledge on this is alarming. Pollock hit .290 after returning from his “Injury”. Which wasn’t even injury btw. He actually has very few baseball related injuries in his career. An av of 10 mil for a player with his talent and stats is right where it should be. He’s also right handed, which this team clearly lacks much of talent wise behind JT. Clint, you mentioned his defense. He played an excellent CF for the Dodgers before his infection, so i’m clueless what your referring to. ESPN ranked him as a top 5 Defensive CF’r in MLB earlier this year.. Players like Peter’s, Rios, Beaty don’t come close to AJ defensively. Peter’s is also striking out at an alarming rate in AAA, so he’s neither being blocked, or ready. AJ may, or may not be all-star caliber, but he’s a great asset, and I assure you isn’t going anywhere.

    • Good points here, Ryan. And as I said, it’s too easy for opposing teams to match up with this over abundance of LHB. Pollock is a RHB with some sock, 15 HR’s in limited time in 2019).. If not him then another legit and I mean legit impact RH bat is needed on this team.

    • Good points! Plus, he hit .266 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in only 87 games. I’m not saying he’s going to be elite or an All Star but, it’s not crazy to think that he could have hit 22-27 home runs if he didn’t get hurt.

    • There is no stat anywhere that shows he was a good defensive CF in 2019, which is why he was slid to LF. He wasn’t getting to balls like he did when he was you know; a good OF defensively.

      Finally, he has screws holding some of his bones together; one became infected and that’s why he missed substantial time. For me, I think that’s enough to pause and not sign him for 5/$50M. I’ve personally seen two of his injuries. His medical history isn’t clean

    • AJ Pollock batted .223 and was 5 percentage points below average against right-handed pitching in 2019. Simply put, he is a platoon player as Joc Pederson is — the issue, though, is that he is even worse defensively. Pollock posted an alarming -10 DRS in the outfield last season and looked lost out there even to the eye test.

      Just because ESPN ranked him as a good outfielder does not mean he is one. He’s not.

  10. Taylor a better right handed bat and outfielder and can platoon with Pederson. Verdugo will be back and needs to play full time, Bellinger in Center. Get what you can in a trade, eat the rest of the contract, groom someone like D.J. Peters and move on.

    • Steve, Belliger did his best offensively in 2019 when he was in RF for a good part of the year. Then when Roberts brought out that shuffle board with him, having him play CF, 1B then RF, then CF and so on, was any wonder why maybe Bellinger’s offense went south with all that daily shuffling around?

  11. Too big of a contract to trade and not smart to eat the money. Bad decision by Dodgers. If they keep Pederson I would platoons he and Pederson in Left. Put Verdugo in Center, Bellinger in Right.
    Use Turner, Rios, Beaty and Muncy at 1st, 3rd and outfield corners. Lux at 2nd, Seager at SS Smith at Catcher and u win the NL west again with Buehler, Urias, Kershaw, And Maeda, May, Gonsolin, Stripling, Ferguson, Santana and others competing for the Rotation and BP positions.

    • Tmaxter, a bit less lineup and position shuffling might just be a better idea I mean I look at the Astro’s INF of Bregman Correa, Altuve and Gueriel on a daily basis and wish Dodgers had that INF who right now is in the WS with a chance to take home another ring.

  12. I believe you trade him. His contract is not that egregious. Even if the dodgers ate half the contract its not end of the world. They are one of the most wealthiest teams In MLB. If someone will take they should do it. Other than the money he takes a roster spot which I hate.

    His contract is very moveable imo

  13. I agree with my Dodger cohorts above : unfortunately, Polllock will be with us in 2020 UNLESS he becomes part of a throw-in on a much larger deal, and that I do not envision.
    Pollock’s acquisition was very costly on so many levels : he never earned his money, and his performance in post season was a disgrace. I still remember when Gil Hodges was mired in a terrific slump in the WS, early 1950s. Even his priest urged the congregation to pray for break out. Unfortunately, things were not be be. Ah, yes, shades of 2020. Go Blue!!!!

  14. If he comes to camp injury-free, and stays healthy all spring training, give him another shot. But if he gets hurt again for more than a slight injury, look to dump his contract any way you can. Dump him now, and we may never get anyone to sign a free-agent deal with any quality again any time soon, because though we sign a contract, we would seem to want to dump it quick, too, and never seem satisfied. If he’s hurt for good parts of his first two seasons with us, people might see that and his injury history, and it might not be so bad. (I would not mind seeing him gone, myself, but I am not the General Manager, so I just offer my opinion here.)

    • With how Roberts and this FO manage the players, pitching and in game strategies especially in the PS I cannot imagine too many FA’s would want to sign with Dodgers knowing that perhaps their playing time if they have been starters would be compromised

  15. He needs to go. The Dodgers are trying to win a WS and the simple fact is, he won’t help them do that. If we were the Padres or Giants, keep him around, but the Dodgers are looking to win it all and he won’t help them do that. He’s not Freese off the bench in a big spot, and he’s a liability in the OF. Eat the money and put a team on the field that has a chance at winning in the Postseason. Pollock had his Postseason opportunity and he stunk it up like hot garbage,

  16. Does anyone know what ever happened to Andrew Toles? Do you think it was drug related? We need more speed on the team. Other than Lux, none of our 30 Prospects rates over a 50 in the run category.

  17. I believe to trade or sell Pollock would cost to much. I think AJ should stay with the Dodgers for 2020 and see what he can deliver. Give him a chance to show his worthiness. I believe he has it in him to go forward in 2020

  18. What kind of fool would iffer Pollock, a poir player at the minor keague level, so much money iver 5 years? Would the money be better soent in coveting performers like Rendon ir Cole? This is the prime reason why the Dodgers will not be a world series contender for years to come, this us also true when looking at Kershaw’s high salary. People who get paid that much should be oreductably the top of the ladder performersm not perform at the lower rungs. Dodgers will be a pathetuc squad with the low-level chemustry they possess.

  19. You could alway tell he was never comfortable in the uniform. He was a rival for all those years, the change never made sense.

  20. Nats showed what contact hitting can do. Bravo to our National League brothers!!! Nats took down a 106 game winner and a 107 game winner. Now if we can get rid of our strike out swingers…..

  21. After all is said and done, in 2020, the Dodger will still have 3.9 million tickets sold, an All-Star game at Dodger Stadium, and their $20-billion TV deal. The Nats won’t have close to that as far as profits. Looks like a business championship to me and Guggenheim.

  22. GET RID OF PEDERSON,TAYLOR & KAKI TO KEEP POLICKER,ARE YOU NUTS . TAYLOR BETTER RH BAT PLATOON W/ PEDERSON. SELL POL. GET WHAT YOU CAN & EAT THE REST, PLENTY OF MONEY. PUT VERDUGO CF, BELLI RF OR 1ST GET RENDON,& COLE , KAKI @2ND LUX & SEGAR SS, TRADE MUNCEY, STRIKES OUT& LEAVES MEN ON BASE. BEST UTILITY, KAKI, MAYBE TRADE SEAGAR.

  23. I’d like to see what Pollock can do in the second year of his contract, shortening his swing just a tad, and everyone on the team doing that too, not just him, just try to drive the ball instead of going upper cut for the fences. Try it for the first month and see how it goes. I imagine there’ll still be plenty of glorious home runs, though not quite as many, and it’s very possible the net effect will be more runs overall, instead of pop ups, double play balls feast-or-famine inning-ending strikeouts.

  24. pollock had a staff infection and lost a lot of weight. He was moved to LF because he was not in baseball shape. I think he will be back in shape and back in CF in 2020.

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