Arizona Diamondbacks Should Lock Up A.J. Pollock
By Thomas Lynch
The D’backs need to sign A.J. Pollock to a five-year deal. Now. Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The offseason for the Arizona Diamondbacks should begin right now. They should make a move that will get the fan base at least a little excited as we exit this dreadful 2014 campaign. Sure, there will still be discussion as to who the general manager will be and if it is the right hire. Whether Kirk Gibson stays or goes as manager, there will be some debating as to if his firing (or not) is a good thing and if his replacement will be better. But if this team is to get some relevance back as football season begins, the first move involves a current player.
The D’backs should sign A.J. Pollock to a five-year extension, which will lock him up through arbitration and a year of free agency.
There is a precedent for this. Arizona gave Paul Goldschmidt the same type of deal before the 2013 season. His contract expires when he will be 31 years old and I am pretty sure that extending him was a solid move. By signing Pollock to a five-year deal now, he will also be 31 upon expiration. For a team like the Diamondbacks to compete, they need to identify certain core players and take a risk by signing them to long-term agreements. Call it cost certainty and as Zach Buchanan at azcentral writes, D’backs’ CEO Derrick Hall indicated the payroll might drop a bit for next year as a result of a decline in attendance. By avoiding costly arbitration in the future, the team will have a better idea of what they can do in free agency and trades. The Pittsburgh Pirates have done this with numerous players including Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. As for the player himself, Pollock is now a legitimate, everyday center fielder. The three months he missed because of a broken hand has not slowed him down. His on-base percentage this month is .342 and he has driven in six runs in nine games. Plus, he is a tremendous defensive player in center with speed to cover a lot of ground.
The old adage is that you build a team up the middle. With catcher Miguel Montero signed through 2017 and the second base-shortstop combination of Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius still progressing, the time is perfect to get Pollock signed long-term. Goldschmidt is under contract for a while. There are young pitchers on the way. Not all is dark for the D’backs. Keeping A.J. Pollock under contract for the next five years is another step in the right direction.