Outfielder A.J. Pollock is interested in pursuing an extension with the Diamondbacks, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “I like my teammates. I like the coaches. The front office has been awesome,” says Pollock. “If they talk to me, I’ll obviously talk to them back.”
Yesterday, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote that the D-backs could consider extending Pollock. “He’s a big, big piece of what we’re trying to do,” GM Dave Stewart told Heyman.
The 27-year-old Pollock will have over three years of service time by the end of the season, making him eligible for arbitration for the first time, and putting him on pace to become a free agent after 2018. As Piecoro suggests, the only recent extension for an outfielder with between three and four years of service time is that of Michael Brantley, who signed a four-year, $25MM deal with one option prior to the 2014 season.
That deal is now almost two years old, though, and as nicely as it has turned out for the Indians, Pollock’s current track record is significantly better than Brantley’s was at the time. Pollock is currently hitting an excellent .312/.365/.474 with 28 stolen bases, and he’s a much better defensive outfielder than Brantley. Pollock’s 4.9 fWAR ranks 10th among big-league position players, ahead of top-performing stars like Anthony Rizzo, Yoenis Cespedes and Andrew McCutchen. Pollock doesn’t have a lengthy track record (due in part to a hand injury that cost him half his 2014 season), and his defense-heavy skill set isn’t ideally suited for getting paid in arbitration, but he’s an excellent extension candidate who should seek a significant payout in exchange for forgoing the arbitration process and delaying free agency.
Pollock’s camp would likely aim much higher than Brantley’s $25MM in extension discussions, then, perhaps pointing to recent deals for infielders Jason Kipnis ($52.5MM) and Matt Carpenter ($52MM) as starting points. Unlike Pollock, however, Kipnis and Carpenter had between two and three years of service at the times of their deals.