In each of the previous two offseasons, the top-ranked free-agent center fielder available inked a deal worth at least $80MM. The Cardinals made a five-year, $82.5MM commitment to Dexter Fowler heading into 2017, and the Brewers followed suit by awarding Lorenzo Cain a five-year, $80MM guarantee last offseason. If A.J. Pollock has his way, he’ll rake in a similar payday this winter. The longtime Diamondback is seeking a contract in the vicinity of the Fowler and Cain pacts, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
It’s no surprise that Pollock is aiming high early in free agency, especially considering the lack of center field alternatives available on either the open or trade market. Nevertheless, Pollock’s asking price may be rather ambitious, with MLBTR predicting he’ll land a four-year, $60MM guarantee and FanGraphs projecting a three-year, $54MM deal.
It’s true that Pollock has generally been a good to excellent performer throughout his career, which began in earnest in 2013. However, injuries have been an all-too-common occurrence for Pollock, who missed 87 games in 2014, 150 in 2016, 50 in 2017 and 49 last season. Further, youth isn’t necessarily on Pollock’s side (he’ll turn 31 on Dec. 6), and because he rejected a qualifying offer from Arizona, signing him would cost a team more than just a truckload of cash. For their part, the Diamondbacks are likely rooting for Pollock to achieve his big-money goal if he doesn’t re-sign with them. Should Pollock go elsewhere for upward of $50MM, it would greatly increase the compensation the D-backs would receive.
To this point, only the Astros have been linked to Pollock on MLBTR’s pages since free agency opened, though Nightengale writes that he’s drawing “plenty of interest.” Aside from the Astros, potential fits could include the Giants, White Sox, Cubs, Mets, Indians and Phillies, among others.
The team that signs Pollock will be landing a valuable player who has totaled between 2.3 fWAR and 6.8 fWAR in five seasons, despite his injury woes. The right-handed hitter posted 2.5 fWAR in 460 plate appearances last season, when he slashed .257/.316/.484 (110 wRC+) with a career-high 21 home runs, a personal-best .228 ISO and 13 stolen bases on 15 tries. Those are impressive numbers, but they pale in comparison to Pollock’s offensive production from his 2014-15 heyday, and he’s now coming off a season in which he registered career-worst chase, swinging-strike, strikeout and contact rates. Meanwhile, Pollock did earn mostly solid marks in center field – which has been the case throughout his time in the majors – with six Defensive Runs Saved, six Outs Above Average and a minus-0.7 Ultimate Zone Rating.
On a per-PA basis, Pollock’s career has been better than Fowler’s when he got to the market and similar to Cain’s when he hit free agency. It’s easy to see why Pollock is likely to collect an appreciable raise in the coming weeks, then. Still, Pollock’s longstanding injury issues figure to prevent him from approaching the contracts Fowler and Cain received.
Doubt his injury riddled self will get that
To be fair, one year he missed most of the year because he was HBP and had his arm broken…
So who is not being fair
That’s not really what happened at all.
He broke his elbow in the minors and the surgeons put in some cheap ass plate and screws that didn’t take very well.
He was sliding into home during a preseason game when the plate and screws failed.
None of which is his fault and that certainly shouldn’t make us consider him injury-prone.
He’s a talented player with a power speed combination that some team will really appreciate.
The way salaries are these days, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t command that kind of money.
Groin, quad, and hamstring injuries. To say nothing of the elbow and other broken bones. A lot of that is poor surgery, playing hard, etc. However, that still shows an injury history. With all the advanced analytics in baseball, it’ll be tough to convince a team to pay a guy like Pollock that kind of money for five years. I’d take him back on the D-Backs but it’s risky.
Farhan, you know this ain’t it chief.
.316 OBP last year – he doesnt deserve anything more than 2/30.
That’s it for me – his relative lack of plate discipline doesn’t portend well going forward. But if Hosmer can get a deal averaging $18m per, and he’s a 1st baseman, I guess Pollock will too. Then it becomes just a question of how many years..
Are you serious? Hosmer was a winner and he stayed on the field. Pollock barely plays 2/3 of the season year after year. He also hasn’t won anything. It’s not a good comparison.
Hosmer was also 2 years younger. Terrible comparison. I would say pollock deserves a 4/44 at best.
Baseball is a team game, you can’t say one player “is a winner” this isnt boxing, lol
Being a “winner” says more about the team the player is on than it does about the player himself. If a player was capable of making himself and the team winners, Trout would have made the Angels champions a long time ago.
Not necessarily, how do you know trouts a winner, he may be a good player but doesn’t mean he is a winner
i was going to say 3/40 but in that neighborhood
If they subtract money from all the time he will spend on the DL then ok.
overpaid and on the wrong side of 30, sounds like a fit for the mets
It’s nice to want things.
Of course much better offense but Pollock is the Kevin Kiermaier of the NL. He’ll never recieve his full value because he can’t stay on the field.
Made of glass. I’ll take Manuel Margot thanks
$80 million paycheck or $80 million health insurance coverage?
When (not if) the Dbacks trade Greinke and most of his contract, the Dbacks, who need a CF will be in the mix for Pollock at those lower $$$ amounts and fewer years contract predictions listed in this article. If a bidding war takes the contract to the 5 year, $80M mark, then No.
Maybe he’s just snake bit with that team.
Well played, Mauer.
So many overpaid players in the MLB and Pollock wants now to be in the neighborhood!
Perfect stupid spending splurge for Middleton! The ball is in your court, Matt Klentak! The Phillies should be able to incentivize this in a way that meets Pollock’s demands and gives them some potential for injury coverage.
That’s the only way hes going to get 80 milion.
Nah maybe 10/80 lmao
What you want and what you get are 2 different things. He is about to turn 31 in a few days. My guess is a 4/60 deal by some team willing to over spend.
It only takes one dumb gm.
So it’s down to the Mets and who else?
GMDM, trader Jerry, AJP, Sabes and AA are all in the mix
AA being Anthopolous? Tend to disagree with you there. Also not sure about Dipoto, but I’d throw in Michael Hill and Jeff Bridich as guys whose moves can be head-scratching at times (although Hill’s could be an ownership problem, not sure).
Sabes? He stepped down. Farhan isn’t dealing with this crap either.
AA is pretty stupid when it comes to money.
Anyone paying this guy anywhere near 80 million will regret it. He had a great year in 2015 but other then that he hasn’t really been that good and he is injury prone.
4 years, guarantees $48 million. With lots of incentive clauses based largely on games played.
yeah yeah yeah, same thing Jay Bruce said last offseason. God bless any MLB front office willing to offer him anything over 5yrs/$60M
Since Fowler deal has been a bust, dont want to refer to that if your Pollack
Breaking News: Every Free Agent starting with high asking price
If the $ are in the $65M or lower range I think the Cubs will land him. They wanted to draft him out of ND and still see him as a fit.
DJ’s health problems will hurt him, he gets 2/20 from a non contender.
Pollock is a good player but his injury history is scary. I highly doubt anything near $80 million.
Pollock has been closer to between Good and Average. He should not pass up any offer over 4/60 or risk being the fool.
Offense is so cheap right now, who would pay top dollar for a guy that misses half the season EVERY season?
At least this is more realistic than Kimbrel wanting 6 years, this sin’t MLB The Show lmao
He’d break his hand picking up the pen..
If he wants that kind of money, he should be willing to sign a contract that is heavily weighted in bonuses based on plate appearances.
aim high but moreless he will get a 1yr offer so he can redeem himself.
Three years, $30 million tops.
The guy has had one great year and has only reached 500 ABs one time in his whole career. I doubt it will improve as he gets older. Let’s also face facts – he’s sliding out of his prime.
As a Giants fan, I hope they avoid this guy like the plague. He reminds me of Aaron Rowand.
What are chance giants really sign thus guy pollack???
Jason d r
He had one offensively productive season. 80 million is way too much. My guess, 2 yrs 28 million. He doesn’t have a proven track record.
Didn’t JD Martinez want $150 for 5 or $210 for 7?
Yeah, good luck AJ.
Rubbing my chin…hmm, I’d like $80,000,000 too…
5 yr/ $75MM. You heard it here first…
Majority of mlb players are very greedy and hungry they should get pay like PGA
Everyone should have two types of payment
One is by year and age and with team
One is by performance
That would solve the problems
How many time we hear got the big contract and disappears
Mark Melancon is one of them
He a theft and a lier
Took advantage of bad management
$ 64 million four years
Indians or Giants will overpay