Los Angeles Dodgers overspend on injury prone A.J. Pollock justifies slow moving offseason

A.J. Pollock
"A.J. Pollock" by haydenschiff https://flickr.com/photos/oxguy3/45306438792 is licensed under CC BY

Outfielder A.J. Pollock has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal.

Pollock will earn $55 million in the first four years of his pact with Dodgers. He can earn an opt out after year three if he reaches a set number of plate appearances, and has a player option for $10 million for the fifth year, per Buster Olney.

Pollock has only played 140 games in a season once in his career. That was back in his solitary All-Star campaign of 2015. He missed considerable time in 2017 and 2018, though he combined for 5.5 bWAR over those two campaigns.

The former Notre Dame centre fielder is a solid, if unspectacular, hitter. His wRC+ was 110 last season and just 103 the year prior. In 2015 and a shortened 2014, that number was up around 130. Pollock does not strikeout much, though he does not walk a great deal either, which contributed to a disappointing .316 OBP last season.

The strikeouts actually increased last season, as he altered his approach to unlock more power. His barrel percentage increased from 5.6% to 10%, yet his power output was similar, with fewer doubles and more home runs.

Pollock has tried to change the type of hitter he is. He had a solid year in 2018, but the Dodgers will be hoping they reap the rewards, and perhaps see him hit the happy medium between contact hitting of his earlier career and the extra homers we saw in 2018.

Pollock is a good defender in centre, he won a Gold Glove in 2015. Pollock had six outs above average last season, the same number as Cody Bellinger, Adam Duvall and Mike Trout. Bellinger was one of several Dodgers who shared centre field last season, along with Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor.

The former Diamondback fills a hole for the Dodgers after they traded away Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. They have their everyday centre fielder. Given their willingness to spend big in recent years, and committing long-term to Pollock, it makes it yet more puzzling that they are not in for Bryce Harper, however.


Pollock is good. He might be better than that as a Dodger and become a perfect complementary piece in an already strong line-up alongside Bellinger, Corey Seager and Justin Turner.

Right now, though, this looks like an overspend. Pollock will be 35 by the end of this deal, and he will probably not be a serviceable Major League centre fielder by that point. This is the sort of contract an ultra-win-now team should be making, but that’s not where the Dodgers are at the moment.

Committing up to $75 million to an injury prone 31-year-old is a risk. The upside for Los Angeles is that it is only $15 million a year, but that could seem very costly by 2021 and 2022.

The price and committed years are a concern for a player with Pollock’s injury history. This deal is a good example of why teams are wary of signing free agents. Pollock is heading into his age-31 campaign, and we don’t know how many plate appearances we will see from him or how he will age.

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About Sam Cox 335 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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