Dodgers 2019 Lineups: Would A.J. Pollock Make a Positive Impact?

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When rumors surfaced late Saturday about the Dodgers reaching out to outfielder A.J. Pollock, many media outlets jumped on the story immediately, primarily because there has been very little to report in recent days and it was at least something to write about.

Ken Rosenthal was the first to share the news, as fans were awoke from a slumber that potentially saw the club standing pat roster-wise as spring camp draws near.

At first glance, I like the possibility of Pollock’s presence at the top of the order, but before I developed an opinion, I felt it was necessary to see where some folks had the 31-year-old pegged in terms of a 2019 salary.

In his annual free-agent projection list, Tim Dierkes of MLBTR guesstimated Pollock netting a four-year, $60 million deal. While Dierkes is not always right on the money, he’s usually relatively close.

Dierkes pointed out Pollock’s plentiful injury history that ranged from a broken hand, an elbow fracture, a groin strain, and a thumb fracture. He noted that if it wasn’t for many seeing Pollock as injury-prone, some clubs could consider offering the right-handed hitter a deal in the five-year vicinity, similar to what Lorenzo Cain and Dexter Fowler have scored in recent years.

In 2018, Pollock managed to appear in 113 games, the most since his 2015 season when he logged 157. In those 113 games last season, the Connecticut native slashed .257/.316/.484 with 21 doubles, 21 long balls and 65 RBI along with 13 swiped bags. Overall, Pollock contributed a 2.5 WAR, which ranks slightly lower that the departed Yasiel Puig‘s 2.7 WAR last year.

The 2015 season was Pollock’s benchmark campaign. He was recognized as an All-Star and snagged a Gold Glove, as he ended up hitting .315/.367/.498 with 39 doubles, 20 homers and 76 RBI alongside 39 stolen bases and 111 runs scored. He put up a 7.2 WAR in 2015 alone.

What’s even more impressive is the consistency of his career splits, something that the Dodgers seem to be lacking these days, forcing the club to employ numerous platoon scenarios. Pollock has a career .284/.343/.454 with 44 HR in 1578 AB against righty pitching, while hitting .275/.327/.498 with 30 long balls over 699 AB against southpaws. He’s a career .283/.343/.461 hitter when batting leadoff, and he has slashed .298/.350/.478 when hitting out of the two-hole.

Pollock is a center fielder by trade, which could result in some roster consequences if he’s signed, considering the speculation that Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo have already been mentioned in the CF conversation to some degree.

As far as 2019 projections go, Steamer has Pollock netting a 2.6 WAR, hitting .259/.326/.445 with 18 homers and 65 RBI in 121 games. Baseball Reference has him slashing .252/.315/.452 with 17 home runs and 57 RBI over 429 AB.

At the end of the day, while I think Pollock could indeed be a benefit to the Dodgers, I’m certainly not keen on a $15 million per year paycheck. And there’s no possible way I see Andrew Friedman handing out a four-year deal to the 31-year-old.

For all intents and purposes, it would have been a smarter decision to retain Puig, paying him $9.7 million for a 2.5 WAR this season, despite not receiving some type of return before he would have walked at the end of 2019.

 

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39 thoughts on “Dodgers 2019 Lineups: Would A.J. Pollock Make a Positive Impact?

  1. Your Puig vs. Pollock point is well taken Dennis (at least from a salary vs. WAR perspective) which leads me to an even stronger feeling that the front office (and quite possibly the clubhouse) just simply got tired of Puig’s personality. He certainly seems to have overcome his lack of training effort and seems fully committed to contributing to the team but he’s always “on” and maybe that just got really tiresome for everyone, even though we as fans from a distance loved it.

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      1. Definitely part of his personality. You don’t get oohs and aahs by hitting the cutoff man, you throw on the fly from the wall to third base for the biggest fan reaction.

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  2. Kenny R. saying that AF is talking to the White Sox and possibly others about Joc. Certainly sounds like he’s getting all his ducks in a row. I’m guessing that we’ll see at least two moves this week, an incoming outfielder and an outgoing Joc. Fan Fest is Saturday. Andrew will want to do something for everyone to talk about at the stadium. Stay tuned.

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    1. I heard somebody saying that Friedman is trying to move both Joc and Rich Hill. I can’t see him getting a decent return on either, because of Joc’s inability to hit southpaws and Hill’s salary. That said, if he finds somebody to take on Hill’s salary, it certainly opens up the door to Kluber.

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  3. It doesn’t make sense to trade Joc unless you have Pollack signed first because if something happens and you don’t get Pollack then the OF is dangerously thin. Personally I think they should keep Joc as I believe he is finally starting to come together with his swing. We also lose our first round pick if we sign Pollack and Friedman despised losing draft picks.

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    1. Although the rumors are concentrating on Pollock that doesn’t necessarily have to be the outfielder we get. I agree that there is no way Andrew trades Joc before he brings in someone else, but it could be someone other than Pollock. As you know he plays his cards very close to the vest.

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  4. I had the opportunity to watch Pollock a lot here in Arizona. Saw him person a few times and I can say that when he was playing pain free he was impressive. He’s got great outfield instincts, gets excellent jumps, hits his cutoff quickly and can run down anything. But he’s older and has had injuries that have cut down his mobility. If he is healthy, and if can get proper rest (on a platooning team like the Dodgers that is almost a given), he maybe could get enough at bats to put up those projected numbers and earn $15M. Obviously if he is signed roster moves will be made. I’m not sure how it would work. If he’s platooning, does that mean Taylor plays center vs LHP? Does Verdugo take Joc’s spot on the roster? He could probably do what Joc does for less $.

    I don’t know what to say about Pollock making us that much better. He replaces Puig, but does that make us better? Iontkno.

    Game time.

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  5. If we equate Hill getting traded means they step up their efforts to make a kluber deal that means they would probably move verdugo in that trade, so if we trade pederson to the White Sox, that leaves only bellinger as a starting outfielder, I wonder what the plan is for the rest of the OF. I think you’re right Jeff it looks like AF may finally have his ducks in a row, and things are getting ready to happen. I for one am ready to see what team Andrew is putting on the field to start the new season.

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  6. AF diving at the top of the dumpster on this one. At the right price Pollack would be a nice addition. He could have a big bounce back year if healthy

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    1. I was on the Ozuna bandwagon until I read a couple of days ago that he had off season surgery to correct a shoulder problem and he might not be ready for ST. That coupled with the fact that he’s insisting on rehabbing with his own people in the DR instead of the Cards people makes me think we should take a pass.

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  7. If you’ve ever wondered if the NFL is rigged you now have your answer. Referees just blatantly robbed the Saints of the Super Bowl. I’m speechless.

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    1. Absolutely horrible call. Saints should be on their way to the Super Bowl. And I say that as a big Rams fan. Although I’m not sure I agree that it was rigged. I’m thinking it was just gross incompetence.

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  8. I’ll be happy to watch the rams play in the super bowl, but it sure is a shame to see a team as good as the saints, have their season end on a play like that.

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    1. People have posted 4 different blown calls on Twitter where the Rams got the short end of it, but they weren’t as close to the end of the game, so this is the call everyone will talk about and remember forever.

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  9. To me, the best thing about signing a TRUE CF like Pollock is that it permanently moves Bellinger to 1st base which is the best defensive option at that position. Muncy is a nice piece, but he is not that great as a 1st baseman. It adds some RH pop to the offense. It gives you a platoon at second which could be pretty good with Muncy-Taylor-Hernandez. Only after getting another outfielder could they ever even possibly consider trading either Pederson or Verdugo. Now today a story is out about the Dodgers being in trouble over international signings. The class affected is the same one that Diaz was taken in. The penalties the Braves suffered last year for the same type of thing was a loss of those players and their GM was banned from baseball. The Dodgers could receive the same type of penalties. It would surprise me if they do. But I would totally crack up if Friedman was blamed and got a ban. After all he was in charge. Right now everything is rumor. This has been when combined with last year the 2 worst off seasons in Dodger history. At least in my book.

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  10. If we trade Pederson then won’t be trading Verdugo so that means no Kluber or Realmuto and have to think we’re bringing in another outfielder. Gotta believe Dodgers like Toles more than Pederson then.

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    1. I totally disagree. Muncy is not a very good defensive player at that spot. Bellinger is much more valuable as the first baseman period. He digs throws out of the dirt and catches high throws more than Muncy could ever do. They value good defense, and Belli should be there all the time, either that or sign another first baseman.

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  11. But if they trade Hill, like Dennis mentioned, you would think they are going to trade for another pitcher, if they do that I would think verdugo would be the price, unless they see going to go with one of the young guys to fill Hills spot.

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  12. It’s Pollock.

    Muncy at second sounds like a really bad idea to me.

    Maybe the reason we are staying under the cap has something to do with our Cuban screw ups? We gonna get fined or what?

    I don’t think the NFL wanted a Louisiana Missouri matchup in the Super Bowl. NE got some calls go their way (that drive extending roughing the passer call on Brady was ridiculous) and the non PI call in the Rams game will be talked about for decades. If they really wanted to get it right they could. The technology is obviously there.

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  13. Bear, I agree that Bellinger is a great first baseman, I just think they kept Muncy so they are going to play him a lot. The only place to play him defensively is first base, so that is why I think bellinger would play RF if the team acquired a CF.

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    1. He sucks at first base. He played 84 games there and made 5 errors. He played 13 games at second and made 1 error. He is even worse at 3rd. Bellinger made 2 errors in 110 games. He made 2 errors in the OF in 78 games where he played out there. He is a superior 1st baseman. I am sorry, I care less for his ability to play the outfield. I just believe his defense at 1st is more of a run saver than being in the outfield. He impacts more games as a 1st baseman and with his kind of ability there that is more important to the team. A new rumor has surfaced as of this morning and this is the first time I have even heard this one. Supposedly the Dodgers are in discussions with the Pirates about Starling Marte. Oh here is another little tidbit. The only time Bellinger has been on the disabled list was when he hurt his ankle playing, you got it RF. I do not want that kid in any corner outfield spot where he can run into the low wall at Dodger Stadium or crash into the screen in RF at Coors.

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      1. Marte: The good – 3 years of control remaining. The bad – suspended 80 games for PED’s in 2017. I would be very surprised to see AF trade for him.

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  14. I did not know that Kevin Kennedy was not retained. But when they hired that guy from Boston I guess that is what happened. I have the feeling this is the week that ol Andy might make some moves. It makes sense since February is only 10 days away and spring training for pitchers and catchers on the 13th. We had our Jam session on Saturday and it went really well.

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  15. Before they even think about trading Joc, they need another OF. Maybe two or at least a guy who can play the position. You have to wonder what Ol Andy has on his mind. We never do anyway.

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  16. By every account ever posted in the history of baseball the easiest position on the field to play and therefore the position that offers the least UZR and dWAR of all of them. The only positions that offers less dWAR are DH and bullpen catcher. Yeah, I know, you don’t care about WAR. But those building teams do. Muncy won’t be at second base unless there is an emergency. Up the middle defense is too important to allow that to happen. First base is where you play if you can’t play anywhere else on the field and left field is where you play if you’re that guy and first base is taken. I’ve posted the Positional Adjustment articles in the past so I don’t think it’s necessary to do it again. There are 30 teams in mlb and none of them but us have their fastest player playing first base. An outfield of Taylor, Pollock and Bellinger sounds good to me. Turner, Seager, Harrison and Muncy/Freese, Barnes/Martin. Hernadez/Toles. Kershaw, Buehler, Kluber, Maeda, Ryu, Stripling. The 13 other pitchers in bullpen.

    Yeah, I’ve traded Pederson and Verdugo.

    PLAY BALL!

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    1. I get it Scoop. But you are all expecting Muncy to repeat last year. I do not think he will. You know what you are going to get with Joc. And I do not want to risk a major injury to Bellinger playing a corner outfield spot. I would rather see Taylor there full time than see Muncy at first. That’s just the way I look at it. Of course they have time to add and subtract, but I have zero faith in Fraudman.

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      1. I don’t expect Muncy to repeat a 161 OPS+, 162 wRC+. His projections show he will slug about 100 points less, but still a respectable .844. He’s not an every day player, not here anyway, with most projection sites giving him about 440 or so at bats. What is the best way to use him? He’s currently listed as our starting first baseman with at bats coming against the roughly 70% right handed pitchers in the league. But he slashed an un-Joc-like .298/.416/.606 vs LH starters last year so I have NO problem giving him opportunity to do it again. Why not? Freese didn’t hit lefty starters near that well (.821 career, .915 last year) but I suspect Friedman will platoon the two of them because of course he will. He’s Friedman.

        It’s an interesting position to be in – Freese, Muncy, Bellinger. Add Pollock and it gets even more interesting. You would handle it differently than I would, but, you and I haven’t always agreed on strategies the last few years. Different opinions are what makes discussions more interesting, and in board rooms, more important. “Five advisors will give five different opinions, but only the president alone can make the call”. Michelle Obama. She’s right of course. Friedman can surround himself with capable statisticians but in the end it’s his call.

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  17. How about signing former Twin, Robbie Grossman. He is a switch hitter and had pretty decent splits, plus he would not cost a lot. Pederson is also being discussed with the Braves as well as the White Sox. We are not always going to agree Scoop, that I know. We all look at things through much different eyes. I have made no excuses for the fact that I totally dislike Fraudman. I am not singing his praises that’s for sure. If I wanted nothing but division titles and a couple of WS visits, well, I would be a happy camper. But I expect improvement, not going backwards which is exactly what he has done so far this off season. He still has some time before we see who will be on the roster come the opening of spring. I suggest he signs Hunter Strickland. That 100 plus MPH fastball out of the pen sounds mighty tempting and the guy is going to be trying to make everyone forget his down year.

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    1. I mentioned Grossman a couple of weeks ago in a post but I don’t really think he’s enough of an upgrade that AF would sign him. On the other hand, some team really should because he definitely has value. Hunter Strickland has a great arm but he’s a total head case. I’ll pass, but of course I don’t make the decisions so you need to convince your pal Andrew.

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      1. I believe the pot stirring Jefe was being facetiously misanthropical. Bear’s made it clear what he thinks of Friedman.

        I agree they want Muncy in the lineup, and the only safe place to play him is first base or left field. We already have a few left handed outfielders so, first base is it. He is listed as our starter there, but I noticed RotoChamp projections list him at 2B. Positional Eligibility is, of course, utility. Andrew do loves him his utilitarian. I don’t know what the plan is, but Taylor and Hernandez can both play second AND we are linked to Harrison. We won’t know who starts where for weeks.

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  18. I’m not debating you bear, I’m only pointing out what I believe is Friedman’s view is. They want Muncy in the line up, or they would have moved him, a lot of us here on this site thought they would sell high this off season and move him, so since he is on the team there is only one place to play him, so you better just get used to it.
    Maybe if we all say Friedman three times AF will show up on bears doorstep, just like in the movies, that would be fun to watch.( I’ve been attending pot stirring classes with professor Jeff )

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