The Los Angeles Dodgers signed All-Star outfielder A.J. Pollock to a four-year, $55 million deal. The deal includes an opt-out after the third year in the event that he reaches a set number of plate appearances. Additionally, if Pollock does not opt-out, a fifth-year player option for $10 million will be a possibility, with a $5 million buyout.
In 2018, he hit .257/.316/.484 with a career-best 21 homers, 13 stolen bases, and a .800 OPS, all while being limited to just 113 games due to a fractured thumb after a dive that took a turn for the worse. Pollock has had a few injuries in his career, including a broken hand, a strained groin, and a fractured elbow.
“My injuries were kind of freak stuff,” Pollock said to justify his injury history.
“A big focus for us is how to achieve more consistency,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “We think we’re going to be a really, really good team this year, extremely well balanced.”
In the last six years, the Dodgers have won six consecutive National League West Division titles, two consecutive pennants, all while losing two World Series’ against the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.
“I think our team last year was the most talented I’ve ever been around, but for a host of reasons, we weren’t as consistent. A big thing for us is to avoid scoring zero, one or two runs. If we can score three or more, we’ll win a lot of games with our pitching staff. It’s just about being more consistent, and we feel A.J. fits really well with that. Consistency is something we’re going to harp on a lot.”
Pollock and his agent was actually looking at the Dodgers as a possible suitor in free agency and liked the club’s winning culture, local weather, and passionate Dodgers fans.
“I’m not going to lie. We were looking at the Dodgers the whole time,” said Pollock. “With a winning culture like this, I couldn’t ask for anything better. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s just a great fit.”
Dodgers fans may find Pollock’s acquisition questionable after trading away the sparkplug that was Yasiel Puig and seemingly not fully committing to acquiring superstar free agent Bryce Harper. Pollock had a response to these doubts as well.
“Bryce is an unbelievable player, and Puig is fun to watch,” Pollock said. “I’m not going to be anything but the best I can be. I’m going to do my part and help the team win a ton of ballgames. Puig is exciting. When you play against him, he’s all over the field, shows a ton of emotion, which I respect. But as far as me taking it personal, I concentrate on what I’m doing.”
This deal is interesting in the sense that everyone expected the Dodgers to make a strong push for Bryce Harper this offseason, especially after the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds. Pollock will now have a home or the next four years and the Dodgers will have an All-Star outfielder to patrol the grass of Dodgers stadium as they push for the elusive World Series title.