The Arizona Diamondbacks’ former centerfielder A.J. Pollock signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers today in the growing mass exodus of players leaving Arizona.
The deconstruction of the Arizona Diamondbacks is all but complete. A.J. Pollock – arguably the second-most important Arizona position player of the last decade – signed with rival Los Angelos Dodgers, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).
Exact terms of the deal are not yet known, but it appears to be a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $60MM, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). It looks to be a complex deal, with opt-outs and escalators for the oft-injured Pollock, adds USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Nightengale suggests the deal will fall closer to a $50MM total guarantee.
Either way, it looks like Pollock will earn enough to cross the $50MM threshold and net the Diamondbacks yet another draft pick. They have a pick coming from the Patrick Corbin signing, so along with their 2019 first and the replacement for not signing their 2018 first round pick, the Diamondbacks now have a healthy stable of picks and allotment money to play with in this year’s June draft.
Pollock was never going to return to the Diamondbacks. That’s long been clear. But his signing with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers makes the parting particularly painful. It also makes more clear than ever that the Diamondbacks are woefully unprepared to compete in an increasingly competitive NL West.
The Padres figure to continue their on their upward trajectory, as should the Rockies as they continue to feed their major league core with prospects on the rise like Ryan McMahon, David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Garrett Hampson.
The Dodgers have lost a fair amount fo talent this year, but with internal improvements from their young players, and now the addition of Pollock, they figure to start 2019 right where they left off: atop the NL West.
The Dodgers’ lineup was leading heavily left, with Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Alex Verdugo, Joc Pederson, and Max Muncy among their core producers. Pollock joins Chris Taylor, Justin Turner and either Russell Martin or Austin Barnes as right-handers to break up the above block of lefty mashers and lend balance to a potent lineup.
Pollock, 31, flashed an incredible ceiling in 2015, endearing himself to Dbacks fans in the process by wrecking the National League with a .315/.367/.498 slash, good for 6.8 fWAR and 131 wRC+. More importantly, he played in 157 games, by far his career high.
A variety of ticky-tack injuries has plagued Pollock in the years before and since 2015, but he’s remained productive, and at times, incredible. The first half of 2018 was one such stretch, as Pollock hit .285/.348/.575. A thumb injury derailed his season yet again, and he missed the entire month of June.
Upon his return in the second half, Pollock never quite regained the posture of the first half, hitting only .230/.290/.410 in the second half. The Dodgers are a good fit, as they have the depth to rest Pollock. Bellinger, Taylor and Verdugo all have the ability to play centerfield, though none of the three are as natural up the middle as Pollock, long reputed as a strong defensive outfielder.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have yet to replace Pollock in centerfield. The offense lacks the star power of years past, and while there’s some hope in the rotation, there doesn’t seem to be enough talent on hand to make a serious run at the West. Pollock, meanwhile, should enjoy another season of playing for a contender – if he can stay healthy.