Dodgers: AJ Pollock Discusses Off-Season, Preference in Outfield
AJ Pollock was the biggest signing the Dodgers made in the off-season of 2019 and he proved to have some value against right-handed pitching. The Dodgers are paying him a decent amount of money, though, and their expectation upon signing him was that he would be a middle-of-the-order bat for the club every day, not a platoon player.
Pollock finished the 2019 season with a .266 batting average and 108 wRC+, accruing just 0.9 WAR in just 86 games. The Dodgers knew that Pollock was going to be an oft-injured player when they signed him, but they had to have been hoping for more.
Pollock will be entering his age-32 season in 2020 and spoke at Fan Fest about his off-season and his positional preference in the outfield.
Pollock in the Off-Season
AJ Pollock had a semi-successful 2019 campaign that was followed by an awful postseason showing. He was asked about what he has worked on this off-season in particular:
“Just like everyone, I have been trying to refine and fine tune. It has been a good season and I’m ready to get back for more.”
Pollock on 2020 Expectations for Team
The 2020 Dodgers will be the one of the best teams that AJ Pollock has ever been on and he will be right in the thick of things barring injury:
“Like every year, you expect to grind. It is never easy. I really like our team and our offense and my expectation is to grind along with the rest of the team.”
Pollock Talks Outfield Spot
AJ Pollock was moved from center field to left field halfway through the year due to the emergence of Alex Verdugo and Cody Bellinger as Gold Glove caliber defenders. He wants to get back to center field in 2020:
“As an outfielder, you are just working out every year. You’re doing speed work and a bunch of different stuff. Where I was was not where I wanted to be and I set a high expectation for myself. I want to be in center field right now.”
As a final bit, Pollock was asked his thoughts on the punishment handed out in the Astros sign stealing scandal, but had an expected answer.
On the sign stealing
"Obviously I wasn't on that team, but I'm frustrated for the guys on this team."- AJ Pollock on 2017 WS scandal pic.twitter.com/MEh0vaLvWI
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) January 25, 2020
Astros questions aside, Pollock sounds like a man ready to make good on his 4-year contract in the coming season.
Grant him his wish, put him in centerfield — for the Indians, Red Sox, Reds, etc. Anywhere but LA. His CF defense has been in decline for several years, and watching him try to play CF last season was painful. Right now he is strictly a platoon partner for Pederson in LF. Seems like a nice guy, but a fringe player who cannot stay off the Injured List.
I would personally rather see Bellinger in RF, Pedersen in LF and Verdugo and Pollock in CF with Verdugo the lead and Pollock proving himself to be healthy and hungry. If not, he can plattoon with Pedersen or have LF if Pedersen gets traded.
You would platoon Pollock and Verdugo? Pollock’s defensive stats in CF have been below average for the last couple of seasons. I think Dodgers want Bellinger in CF because of his much better speed and range, but I am also good with Verdugo in CF and Bellinger in RF
Hello SoCalBum, How do you view a potential trade for Betts, a legit RHB, even though he would be a 1 year rental? At the very least Betts would sort of balance the potential lineup out and would not be part of a platoon scenario. If I understand it, Verdugo still is not fully beyond that back issue, but in any event, getting Betts would mean another OF or 2 must be moved, but wss. I still have doubts that Betts would be coming here but Boston cannot reasonably expect a great prospect haul for a 1 year rental either.
I don’t really care where Pollack wants to play. He’s lucky to play at all. Other Dodger players like Muncy play wherever they are needed. Pollack hasn’t earned the right to say I want to play here or there. If you don’t hit, you don’t play. That strikeoutfest against the Nationals didn’t earn him any bonus points either. If Pollack wants playing time he will have to earn it like everyone else.
A “semi successful” season? You’ve got to be joking? They paid him millions to be an everyday center fielder. He only played in 86 games and had to be moved to left because he quickly proved he couldn’t play the position! He then goes 0-13 with 11 K’s in playoffs. That’s semi successful?
The only reason he’s still on team is no one will take any part of his contract! As soon as Dodgers find some sucker team to take about 1/3 of his money, he’s gone!
I expect Pollock will be better offensively with the metal screw problem behind him; but he still has 3 outfielders significantly better than him for right and center on defense. Plus reserves Taylor and Hernandez? I would say defensively, left is his only spot. And with Pederson being so strong against righties, I would say Pollock may be doing a lot of pinch hitting.
Wayne, Joc may be dealt, as he is also in his last year before FA.
Just another dodger choke artist
Hey Don, I do concur as i said what Scott says here about getting this deal done or stop completely with these lame rumors.
When will Pollock be sent to the minors? He has yet to earn a dime of his salary since coming to the Dodgers. 11 of 13 at bats are strikeouts, the first year little league. His wirst is yet to come .