After seven years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, right-handed outfielder A.J. Pollock is expected to become a free agent, despite receiving a $17.9 million qualifying offer from his club.
Could the longtime snake be a good fit in the Colorado Rockies outfield? Even if Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra or Matt Holliday returned to the Rockies, it’s hard to imagine any of them as everyday players. Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl are clear Opening Day starters, but that still leaves a hole in the outfield.
If GM Jeff Bridich is going to “be a little more focused on our offense this offseason,” then a right-handed bat in the outfield should be a priority. A guy like Pollock gives the Rockies what they need, though his injury history should give us pause.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
Last season was a disappointing one for Pollock despite an encouraging start. He was in the early-season MVP conversation, slashing .293/.349/.620 with 21 extra-base hits until May 14, when a fractured left thumb knocked him out for a month-and-a-half. His season-ending slash line was .257/.316/.484 (.800 OPS), with a a career-high 21 home runs.
But about that fractured left thumb. Unfortunately, Pollock’s injury history is his biggest red flag. He was an All-Star and legitimate MVP in 2015, then he broke his elbow in 2016 and missed time in 2017 with a groin strain.
These injuries have dragged Pollock’s value down considerably. In 2015, Pollock was worth 6.8 fWAR, but from 2016-2018 he was worth 5.2 WAR. Still an above-average player, but not the bona fide star he was in 2015.
And while his power numbers haven’t dropped, he is whiffing more and making less contact – his strikeout rate in 2018 was 21.7 percent compared to just 13.2 percent in 2015.
Pollock is still an outstanding defender. He won a Gold Glove in his All-Star year of 2015, and committed just one error in each of the last two seasons. Defensive metrics are not as high on his performances since 2015 but his glove is still trustworthy, especially compared to Blackmon and his questionable defense.
Pollock addresses more than one glaring need, even if his injuries and regression in performance make him a risk. I think the Rockies should try and fish Pollock out of the free-agent market … but not if the price is too high. Unfortunately, that’s not excatly the Rockies’ decision in what should be a wild season offseason of free agency.