4:30pm: The Giants have now made it official, announcing Pollock’s release. His 40-man roster spot will go to right-hander John Brebbia, who has been reinstated from the 60-day IL, with righty Tristan Beck optioned to open an active roster spot for Brebbia.
7:39am: The Giants are releasing AJ Pollock, per a report by MLBNetwork’s Jon Morosi last night. The 35-year-old veteran has been on the injured list with a strained oblique for just under a month but began a rehab assignment at Triple-A last week, going 1-for-6 with a double, a walk and three strikeouts.
Pollock joined the Giants just before this year’s trade deadline in a fairly minor deal with the Mariners that also saw San Francisco acquire utility player Mark Mathias. San Francisco acquired him in hopes of improving the club’s offense against lefties, thanks to his career .836 OPS against lefties and a .286/.316/.619 slash line in 133 plate appearances when facing southpaws last year. That didn’t come to pass, however, as he ultimately suited up for the club in just five big league games, striking out two times in six at-bats without recording a hit or walk.
The brief stint in San Francisco was a continuation of what has been nothing short of a brutal year for Pollock at the plate. Since signing a one-year, $7MM deal with the Mariners this past offseason, Pollock has slashed a unsightly .165/.215/.305 in 144 trips to the plate this year. Pollock’s 22.2% strikeout rate is a career high, and while his awful .227 wOBA is much lower than his xwOBA, his rough contact quality numbers leave the expected figure at a still well-below par .267.
While Pollock began to decline somewhat with the White Sox last year, posting the first below-average offensive season of his career (aside from an injury-marred 2016 season in which he only suited up for 12 games with the Diamondbacks) since he became a full time player in 2013, his drop off in production this year has been staggering. After all, it was just two seasons ago that Pollock was posting excellent numbers with the Dodgers, slashing .297/.355/.536 with a wRC+ of 137.
As for the Giants, the club still has a pair of right-handed hitting outfielders on the roster in Mitch Haniger and Austin Slater, along with a pair of youngsters at Triple-A on the 40-man roster in Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos. San Francisco will have to put Pollock through release waivers, though he’ll surely go unclaimed between his performance, expiring and pricey contract, and the fact that he would be ineligible to participate in the postseason for the hypothetical-claiming club. Upon clearing release waivers, Pollock would become a free agent and be free to sign with any of the 30 clubs with an eye toward the 2024 campaign, though the veteran outfielder will likely have to settle for a minor league deal after this year’s performance.