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Arizona Diamondbacks: A.J. Pollock Untouchable?

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According to Arizona Diamondbacks’ CEO Derrick Hall, A.J. Pollock is “almost untouchable”

A.J. Pollock became a supermodel last night. No, the All-Star centerfielder did not swap his cleats for heels but rather he was on hand to show off the new uniforms of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has been a popular guy over the last month, winning his first Gold Glove and becoming a hot name in trade discussions. However, as Nick Piecoro of azcentral writes in his latest column, the Diamondbacks don’t seem to be enthused about trading their newest superstar.

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Chief Executive Officer Derrick Hall spoke with Piecoro and stated that when other teams want to talk deal with the D-backs, Pollock’s name comes up “every time”. Who could blame them? Hall says that every team knows that Paul Goldschmidt is “off limits” so the next logical guy to ask about is Pollock, who is under club control for the next three years. The team that is really hot on Pollock’s trail is the Atlanta Braves, whom the Snakes have already turned down a Pollock for Shelby Miller offer. According to Hall, Arizona values him so much that he says…..

"I think it’s safe to categorize him as almost untouchable."

The column goes on to say that the club would like to negotiate a long-term contract with Pollock and there have been internal discussions but nothing definitive. If no deal is reached, mlbtraderumors puts his 2016 salary at $4.3 million dollars, a bargain for someone who had one of the best all-around seasons in baseball last year. Long-time readers of this blog know that I have been wanting the team to offer Pollock an extension for over a year and now his price will only keep going up. There is still time to get a deal done but why wait any longer? If he puts up similar numbers in 2016, more dollars will have to be committed and there could be less of a chance that Pollock gives up more than a year of free agency to remain with the D-backs.

That’s why putting the word “almost” in front of “untouchable” tells me Pollock can be had for the right offer. I have had this long-standing suspicion that Arizona is going to ask for Matt Harvey straight up with Pollock as the prize. In my opinion, that is a mistake on both sides because it is almost a step sideways. Though the New York Mets theoretically have Steven Matz to step in and produce Harvey-type numbers, that is a big risk for a team coming off a World Series appearance. It doesn’t make sense for the Diamondbacks, either because while the other outfielders are nice, the dropoff in production between any of them and Pollock is stark. You also break up perhaps the best one-two punch in the game by shipping him elsewhere.

Next: What Can the Arizona Diamondbacks Afford in Free Agency?

While it’s nice that Derrick Hall feels so highly of A.J. Pollock that he calls him “almost untouchable”, that doesn’t guarantee the latter will remain with the Arizona Diamondbacks come Spring Training. I have often wondered why an extension wasn’t worked out before this past season ended. Though Hall states, “it’s almost time to send a message that A.J. is off limits”, do we find that to be true?  He used the word “almost” twice in the same conversation. Something tells me not to believe the “untouchable” label until the ink is dry on a new, long-term contract extension.

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