Thursday, January 24, 2019

Welcome to the Blue, AJ Pollock!

I kinda wanted Harper, so this bit of news feels like a consolation prize. That being said, AJ Pollock is not a player to scoff at. He remains a serious offensive right-handed threat at the plate, and still commands respect as a plus outfielder -- even given the numerous injuries he's faced the past several years.

As I'm sure you know by now, the Dodgers are in the midst of signing free agent 31-year old right-handed outfielder and former Diamondback AJ Pollock. This news was originally posted up by Ken Rosenthal on twitter. Additionally, his contract appears to be for four-years at $55 million, plus an $10 million option/$5 million buyout for year five. So, for luxury tax purposes this translates into a five-year/$60 million contract (per Buster Olney on twitter). BTW, there is also an opt-out clause after year three.

Another thing of note, I think it's fair to say that this signing means that Bryce Harper is not coming to LA. We've now got a full roster of outfielders, so unless there's a future trade to lighten the load then we are pretty much set. Heck, many are suggesting that we still need to pare-off a player like Joc Pederson -- possibly even to the Marlins for catcher Realmuto. Check out this recent tweet by Ken Rosenthal regarding how this should all fit:
Below are some additional stories about this trade.
A former Gold Glove winner in center field who, when upright, has hit for power, hit for average and stolen bases, Pollock also is a regular in the trainer’s room. Since 2015, when Pollock batted .315, hit 20 home runs and stole 39 bases, he played 12 games in 2016, 112 in 2017 and 113 in 2018. Among other issues, he has suffered a broken elbow, a groin strain, a broken thumb and a broken hand.
In those 113 games last season, Pollock hit 21 home runs, though his batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.316) were well below career rates. As he will be 31 going into the 2019 season and relies on speed for parts of his value, Pollock would be viewed as a next-level option in free agency, below Bryce Harper and perhaps Michael Brantley, but a class thin in outfielders – Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, Steve Pearce follow Pollock – would convince many to believe Pollock’s injury misfortunes are due to change.
Pollock's presence deepens a lineup that lost right-handed outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in a trade that landed the Dodgers a pair of prospects from the Cincinnati Reds. While Cody Bellinger can play center field, Pollock allows him to move to his natural position, first base, when necessary. Los Angeles' versatility is one of its hallmarks, and while it could have rotated Bellinger, Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor in center, Pollock's lack of a distinct platoon split would allow the Dodgers to play him every day.
In honor of AJ's addition to the club I made four fantasy custom cards of him. Check them out above.

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