Why A.J. Pollock?

If were are under the illusion that Bryce Harper was coming to the Dodgers, then you are likely to be asking that question… and it’s possible anything I say will not satisfy you. I was not a fan of getting AJ Pollock and really wanted Nick Castellanos, but Castellanos was going to cost several players – I have no clue exactly who.

It’s not that Friedman won’t trade prospects – it’s just that he won’t tradeCertain Prospects, like Gavin Lux, Alex Verdugo and Keibert Ruiz. He’s open to trading some of the others… just not those three.

What I disliked is his injury history and the fact that he costs the Dodgers their second round pick. I’m actually surprised that Friedman signed him in light of losing that pick. However, maybe he believed that the prospects he would have had to trade for Casty would equal more than losing a pick.

He also got a Gold Glove Fielder in Pollock, so there is that. We also hear that he is still trying to get JT Realmuto, if the Marlins will come around to his way of thinking. He’s not including Lux, Verdugo or Ruiz in a deal. End of story – that’s a non-starter. Adding Realmuto along with Pollock would be a huge upgrade, but Realmuto may take longer.

A 4-year deal in the $50 million vicinity is a whole lot better than a 10-year $320 million deal to Bryce Harper. Do the math. The only correlation between long, expensive contracts and anything, is that about 70% of the time, it’s a dope-fiend move that handcuffs a team for many years to come. A few short years ago, fans were singing Arte Moreno’s praises for signing Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. It didn’t take long to sink that franchise.

Dodger fans were very upset when the D-Bags signed Greinke and were ready to win the World Championship… except that it never happened and now they are in full rebuild. How about the Giants? All of those big contracts worked out didn’t they? You should be happy Friedman won’t do big deals. That means the Dodgers will be relevant for a long time and all you need is a chance in baseball.

I don’t know if he will get Realmuto because I have no clue if the Marlins will budge. I think they will have to, but Houston was not going to include their top prospects, neither was Atlanta and now the suiters are fewer after Washington and Milwaukee signed their catchers.

Why not just keep Puig if you want a RH outfielder?” Other than the fact he was a knucklehead and annoying to his teammates, threw to the wrong bases, his defense was slipping in LF and he made many mistakes on the basepaths, nothing…. well, other than the fact that he hit like a LH hitter, not a RH hitter. I don’t care what side of the plate he hit from, the results were that of a lefty! That doesn’t help.

Can Pollock stay healthy? Many of his injuries were just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Justin Turner breaking his wrist last spring. Freakish injuries! You never know and sometimes you just get snakebit for a while. The odds are he is due for a good health season. The Dodgers won’t push him hard and give him rest due to their great depth, but you never know.

The thing is: You can sign a player to a $320 million dollar deal and he can go down too. I acknowledge that Pollock has been injury prone. Since his Rookie Year, he has appeared in 137, 75, 157, 12, 112 and 113 games. It’ been 3 years since he has played a full season, so if you are aGlass Half Empty Person,you will say “He can’t be counted on because he’s seldom healthy.” If you are aGlass Half Full Person, you might say “He’s due for a healthy season.”

Either way, if you look at the stats, you have to acknowledge that AJ Pollock can hit, when healthy. I have no special knowledge, but it has already been speculated that Robert Van Scoyoc (RVS) may be excited to work with him since he knows him from Arizona.

The people who complain Pollock is injury-prone and say the Dodgers should have kept Puig, need to consider this: Over the same six-year period, when Pollock appeared in 137, 75, 157, 12, 112 and 113 games (an average of 101 games a season), Puig appeared in 712 games which is just 17 more games a season. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! 17 more games!

Now, where does Pollock play? That’s the big question. I would be inclined to play him in LF, where there would be less wear and tear on his body which would equal a better opportunity to say healthy. CT3 or Bellinger can man CF, but where everyone plays is problematic right now, as the Dodgers have alot of flexability.

My guess is that the Dodgers will strike a deal with the Marlins for JT Realmuto which involves Joc Pederson, Austin Barnes, Diego Cartaya or Will Smith, maybe Yadier Alvarez, Edwin Rios and/or Josiah Gray. Or, maybe it will come down entirely different…

Keibert Ruiz is going to be very, very good, but he is very, very young, so a full year at AAA will do nothing but prepare him. In 2020, the Dodgers let Martin walk and Ruiz caddies under Realmuto. I am convinced that is the plan… whether it comes to fruition is whether the Marlins will accept Friedman’s deal. The Dodgers have no intention of bidding on Realmuto when his contract is over. They have other fish to sign.

This article has 102 Comments

  1. Puig is better than pollak. Piriod.. pollak was relative cheap and it is ok but is a risk because his lack in health. Pollar is just ok but we need another RH

          1. Rudy

            I only said that, because I know you aren’t one to go out of your way, to critique anyone.

            And I remembered English was Daniel’s second language.

  2. It is actually our 2nd highest non 1st round pick Mark, we are losing pick #64. This makes this deal a little less painful, but it is such a crapshoot move. Our FO fascination with injury prone players is real, and betting he will stay healthy in his early thirties is unlikely. Depth will help deal with his future injury setbacks but since they seem hell bent on staying below the luxury tax line that depth will be compromised when they deal Joc. This is an underwhelming deal, and if we had to lose Joc and Puig and our #64 pick to make this happen I don’t get it. So what is next Kasten and AF? JTR I guess but at what cost?

  3. I’m tired of reading everywhere the same nonsense about Pollock’s health,
    Wait to see if he can stay healthy or not,
    I hate negative people, those people who only live criticizing everything
    Seeing only the bad side of the things,
    People who do not like anything,
    They criticize that Dodgers has not done anything
    Dodgers do something, and they criticize it too!
    Why do not they go to SF?
    They are worse than an annoying wife !!
    The true LA fans are positive!!

    1. The true Dodger fan or any true baseball fan are extremely knowledgeable,they do not criticize without a view point to give their criticism some merritt. The Dodger signing of Pollock and the maybe trade for Realmuto if it happens together have the possibility of making the Dodgers( on paper )a much stronger offensive team than last years team, Pollock by himself will help the Dodgers be a better offensive team against LH pitching, which will help along with his defense. Letś see if Friedman can swing the deal for Realmuto and connect all the dots.

  4. And Puig was in the last year of his contract. You either let him play out the year with all of his faults and let him walk and get nothing, you let him play out the year and then sign him for a lot more money and more years, which means you’re committed to his knuckleheadedness, or you trade him now and get something of value.
    There is a certain logic to the argument by Hawkeye and others that the Dodgers already had Puig, who is actually pretty good. Why trade him for farm pieces and then shop for an outfielder? I just have a feeling the Dodgers got tired of having to babysit him, and had no intention of signing him long term.
    It’d be nice to have Harper, I’m just not really sold on him for that much money for that many years. You’re paying for his 2015 year, which was great, but he’s underwhelmed before and since. His splits are decent, but his power takes a hit against LHP. His defense is lackluster, so he’s in left.
    Castellanos is enticing, and those LH splits are really impressive – he crushes LHP – but his defensive numbers are pretty Kemp-ish…like really bad. It begs the question again, why pay good prospects for that guy when you have a decent RH bat with suspect defense in Kemp. Castellanos has one year remaining on his contract, same as Kemp. If that’s the kind of player you want, just take the chance that you can convince Kemp to lay off the donuts. Castellanos has a higher offensive ceiling now, being younger, but still, what’s really the difference? And if you really want him that bad, just wait a year and sign him.
    Pollack is a risk, but he’s a much better defensive outfielder that all the other options and can play all three positions. Bellinger can play first base if you want to put Taylor in left, and Pollock is a hedge in case Verdugo struggles in right and can’t contribute in the playoffs.
    And his injury history is strange. It’s not like he’s suffered ligament tears or had soft tissue injuries, which are chronic and red flags. He’s consistently broken bones getting hit by pitches or sliding into the bag. Is it just bad luck or does he have a skeleton made of glass? You could take the gamble that his extensive injury history was more flukey than anything.

  5. 1 – Pollock’s injury history is mainly because he plays recklessly. That’s who he is and how he plays. He’s not going to change. Pollock is going to be hurt nearly annually. The Dodgers are betting that they are set up to deal with his injuries due to depth – they just move Bellinger or Taylor to CF.
    2 – It is hard to rectify trading away 2 RHH OF and then signing one as a free agent, but Kemp is old, Puig’s a pain (as talented as he is) and is only under contract for 1 more season, and Pollock signed cheaply so it is a good risk. It’s strange but it has a logic to it.
    3 – Look it up – Castellanos was the worst defensive OF in the AL last year and the Tigers were apparently asking far too much for him – he’s essentially a DH.
    4 – The Dodgers were never going to sign Harper to a contact for as long and as much as he is looking for.
    5 – The comment that anyone who disagrees with a move made by the Braintrust is not a true fan is insulting and bizarre. Dr. Alan Bloom wrote a book back in the 1980s called the Closing of the American Mind. His thesis was that the culture demanded the refusal to make value judgements – that anyone’s opinion is as good as another’s and that all cultures, ideas, art, etc are of equal value. This basically requires that everyone turn their brains off and refuse to actually think about things – you know, have an informed opinion.

    So if you are a “real” Dodger fan, all trades are good? Even trading Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez, etc? All free agent signings are good? Even Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, et al? You can’t say that with a straight face.

    So all Dodger fans should be encouraged to use their brains and decide whether they approve of the Dodgers’ latest transaction after getting as much information as possible and putting on their thinking caps.

    1. Rick: Ok, I like the challenge to get a few layers deep with

      In that regard, and as MT and others have said, Yasiel was not
      a balanced RHH. They needed some more typical quality at
      the plate from that side.

      I cautiously like this deal. Caution because of your excellent
      point about the way he plays the game. And “decent Dodger
      breadth” can help there, since, in spite of Mark, they don’t have
      “great organizational depth.” IF they did, they wouldn’t be in
      the market twice a year:-).

    2. Bloom’s book was assigned reading my freshman year in college, which is shocking. Today it is just as likely to be denounced and banned in many universities. I’m pretty certain I still have it somewhere. I should try to find it and re-read it. It was actually very prescient, and, along with Wolf’s Bonfire of the Vanities, which I read at the time as well, understood quite well where our culture was heading.
      Expanding just a little on Bloom’s critique of post-modernism and cultural relativism, the big irony is that the adherents of the post-modern ethos that have evolved into the social justice warriors of today and and were as absolutist in their moral judgments as they come. Post-modernism was always just the back door way to erode and undermine the predominant Western social mores, to be replaced with something else.
      But to your point, I don’t see anyone saying that “everyone who disagrees with a move by the braintrust is not a true fan.” I did see some criticism of the reflexive impulse to criticize any move that Friedman makes. I could take your same argument and flip it. There is camp that will criticize any move by Friedman because they believe it should be viewed within the context of their belief that he’s cheap, runs the team like a small market Rays organization, and is beholden to simply making money to rich Guggenheim investors. I was called a “Friedman fanboy” and derided as “weird” for defending rich executives on another blog (ok, it was Scott’s)
      We all have our biases. I think you once criticized the FO as the “pocket protector” set for the perceived emphasis on sabremetrics over the tried and true. When well crafted and articulated, this can be a compelling argument, but I think even you will have to concede that Friedman at least (maybe less so with Zaidi) looks at the larger picture, which includes personalities, when making personnel decisions. They did nix the Chapman deal, after all, and Puig is gone in part because of his personality.
      I think there might be a slight sea change afoot with Friedman, where data is valued, and value is valued, but there is a little more balance towards what you might call a traditional approach to the game; maybe a little more emphasis on situational hitting, less strikeouts, slightly less reliance on platooning. That’s my hunch, anyway.

      1. Jorge wrote “The true LA fans are positive!!” . His comment was that anyone who criticized any move made by the Dodgers was not therefore a “true fan”. My response was two fold: first, that the Dodgers, like all teams, have made some really stupid moves and to call them stupid doesn’t mean I’m not a true fan.

        Second, I used the Bloom book to emphasize the importance of engaging in critical thinking. While Bloom was certainly critical of post-modernism and social relativism, his ultimate conclusion was that the endpoint of this post-modern ethos was to “close your mind”, ie., to stop engaging in critical thinking. If all ideas have equal value and all opinions are equally valid, then people stop thinking to try to decide what is true, beautiful or right since it’s all a matter of each person’s “truth”. My point is that a thinking person has to apply his brain to a given situation, become informed, and then try to find the truth about it. Critical thinking is the opposite of “all true Dodger fans are positive”.

        By the way, where did you go to school? Assigning Bloom and Wolfe is pretty bold.

        1. I was a college freshman in 1989. I lot has changes since then. I don’t think the Bonfire was assigned, but I read it just because. I went to Pepperdine. Baseball team won the NCAA championship when I was there. And that school was a little more immune to the post modern impulse than others.

          I’m not sure that Jorge was supposition that,

          To be a true Dodger fan, you therefore have to be positive all the time. You have to admit there are some generally reflexively negative commenters. They are just as unable to apply critical thinking to their biases as the pom pom wavers.

  6. You can’t always rely on injury history. Anyone remember when Matt Kemp played 399 consecutive games?

    I haven’t watched Pollock enough to know whether or not he plays recklessly. But if that’s true, I imagine that it’s something that can be corrected over time with work.

    One of my main reasons for wanting the Dodgers to sign LeMahieu was his defense. Wherever you have it, in the infield, outfield or behind the plate, defense is important, and not to be taken for granted. If Castellanos is a defensive liability, then I don’t care how much he hits. To me, good defense is as important has hitting WRISP.

    Not only will the Dodgers not have to spend prospect capital for Castellanos, but combined with the two prospects we got from the Reds, the Dodgers now are in a better position to work out a deal for Realmuto. Don’t know if it’s the case, but maybe that’s why AF is holding onto and collecting prospects.

    I haven’t been keeping up with rule changes regarding draft picks and international signings. But I do remember when draft picks couldn’t be traded in their first year, and I don’t remember if there were ever any such restrictions for international signings. It probably isn’t the case, but I do wonder if Cartaya can be traded so soon after he signed with the Dodgers. Also, it seems to me that lots of fans throw around the names of prospects that they would include in deals. I try not to do that, since I simply do not have enough knowledge about each prospect to know whether or not they should be traded. I assume that AF knows a lot more than any of us, and I trust that he knows when to trade or not trade a player. I have never seen him pitch, and I know he has issues, but I always wince when someone casually includes Yadier Alvarez in a proposed deal. Maybe he’ll never amount to anything, but I would think twice or three times before including his electric arm in any deal. But if AF does it, then I will trust that he knows a lot more about the player than I do.

  7. Eno Sarris of The Athletic has a good read on why Pollack is an improvement over Puig:

    In part, it says:
    For one, Pollock has been a better baserunner (BsR) and defender (DEF), and that’s important to a team that might like to play their right-handed outfielder in center field some days, in order to play their left-handed outfielder (Cody Bellinger) at first base. The Dodgers didn’t want to play Puig in center, that much is clear, and they may need last year’s right-handed center fielder — Kiké Hernández — on the infield more often.

    … Because the team has so many players that can play at multiple positions — Hernández, Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and even Max Muncy have experience all over the field — the Dodgers are more ready than most to absorb injury. And if you can absorb injuries, and basically raise your team’s replacement level to around league average, every win above league average becomes super important.

  8. I love Pollock and am glad we got him. Injuries are hard to predict, but it sure seems like he has brittle bones having broke the same elbow twice. I hope his health concerns are behind him. If so, watch out. This deal really balances out the lineup…

    CT3 2B – R
    Seager SS – L
    Turner 3B – R
    Bellinger LF – L
    Pollock CF – R
    Munchy 1B – L
    Verdugo RF – L
    Barnes/Martin C – R

    Lot’s of speed, great defense everywhere except Munchy at 1B, great depth. I love this deal. Sure, I would rather have Harper, but Pollock is a stud. I hope he can stay healthy. If they wind up with JTRM as well, it will be a real coup. This deal really cured my case of off season blues.

    I really can’t see why people are so butt hurt over this deal. Pollock and Puig are at the very least a wash on the field. Puig is a knucklehead. I was sad to see him go. I will miss all those throws, I will not miss all those baserunning blunders. Same with Kemp, another knucklehead, and far removed from “Beast Mode”. Not missing Wood at all.

      1. Well, I’m not really sure. Friedman is so hard to predict. I would like to see them trade Pederson now, but he would make a really nice 4th outfielder. Ideally, I would like to see them trade Verdugo and sign Harper. Game over at that point. I wouldn’t mind seeing them trade Munchy, I think Rios is the real deal with the bat. The Marlins would be smart to take Muchy or Rios, Pederson, Barnes and May. But, Pederson and Barnes might not fit their window, if they even have one. There are so many possibilities, I find it really hard to guess. Jeter Downs is another possibility and Derek Jeter’s big head might propel him to trade for his name sake. That’s just good marketing right there.

        1. Wow well said!! That would be money if they can land harper too! Thank you so much for the insite

    1. Rick offers that the kid will always play that way.

      Says here, not necessarily. Takes some athletes longer to recognize the
      instrument’s limits, to learn to listen to the wise internal voice about
      cost and benefits. Maybe he’ll be a late learner:-).

  9. I certainly understand why Hawkeye and others are seemingly upset that Puig is no longer a Dodger. He brought a different dynamic of excitement to the team. There is no question that the tongue wagging RF was exciting and possessed a fantastic right arm. But he was not that good at running back on balls, has a tendency to want to do everything by himself by overthrowing cut off men and running out of innings on the basepaths. When they work, he looks great, but too often they do not.
    I agree with those that believe that Puig was never going to be signed to an extension. Nor was one of my favorites, Alex Wood. He should flourish in Cincinnati, but that does not mean that he would have flourished inn LA. I agree with Mark, I think he was exceedingly talented but wore out his welcome with the team with his antics.
    So it may appear to some that Puig was dropped for an older version in AJ Pollock. I for one believe the difference could very well be the missing ingredient. But hopefully not the only one. Early on this winter when many were wanting Harper, I thought the Dodgers could do better with less committed dollars with DJLM, Pollock, and a trade for Kluber. Those three players would make the Dodgers a better team for about the same AAV as Harper (or just a shade more), but less overall dollars. The Dodgers did not sign DJLM and will not get Kluber in a trade. I had a friend come in to my Starbucks office this AM and remind me when I told him the Dodgers should sign Pollock way back in November.
    Pollock was the JT (heart and soul) of the DBacks. While Goldy was the glue as is Corey for the Dodgers. This is a fantastic FA signing for $12MM AAV for 5 years. I understand that Pollock may in fact be injury prone, but in that same article in The Athletic that Mark excerpted from, there was another statement that seemed to put the injuries into more relevant viewpoint:
    “But for one, position player injuries are very difficult to project. There’s evidence that we use the injury-prone tag too often. For example, Rob Arthur found a rubric with which to project injuries for hitters … and if you plug in Pollock’s age and days missed over his career, it projects Pollock to miss 17 games next year. One disabled list stint.
    Only two teams lost more days to the Disabled List than the Dodgers last year — the Angels and the Mets — but that doesn’t quite capture it. Nobody used the Disabled List more often.
    This is a team built on depth that has figured out how to leverage that depth best: the Disabled List.

    Andrew Simon of MLB tweeted:
    “The risk-reward dynamic with Pollock can be summed up with two stats:
    1. Since the beginning of 2014, Pollock’s 469 games played ties him for 218th among MLB position players.
    2. Over the same span, Pollock’s 17 WAR, per Baseball Reference, ranks 41st in that group.
    Over the past five seasons, Pollock has played in fewer games than fellow outfielders Peter Bourjos, Brandon Guyer, and Ben Revere. Yet he has accrued more value than Charlie Blackmon and Khris Davis as well as fellow free agents Michael Brantley and Andrew McCutcheon.”

    Why are so many exorcised about Pollock’s broken elbow sliding in at home, strained groin, and a broken thumb, but do not seem phased about committing $93MM to a pitcher with a back that can land him on the DL if he sleeps on it wrong, and a bad hip? Or $18MM committed to a pitcher who has had major shoulder surgery and a fully torn groin? Pollock is 3 months older than the 1st pitcher, and 9 months younger than the 2nd. It seems that the two pitchers are more of an injury risk than is AJ. The Dodgers financial commitment to AJ is either $55MM or $60MM with what is reported a $12MM AAV, a little more than Puig’s 2019 salary, and could be less overall depending as to what Puig signs for next year.
    This was a good deal for the Dodgers financially and baseball wise. Pollock is a solid defensive CF who will be a true veteran general in the outfield. He will be a plus plus plus influence in the clubhouse. If Alex Verdugo latches onto Pollock’s hip as Seager did with Utley, this should help Verdugo to grow as well. One can choose to still be upset with Puig playing for Cincinnati, but for me, I cannot wait to see Pollock in a Dodger uni. I am now going to need to retire my Wood jersey for a Pollock jersey.

    1. I’m not buying anyone’s jersey anymore! I saw a lot of Machado gear last year at DS after the deadline deal-how is that working out? I can’t even see the team for sure going big to resign Cory or Cody when the time comes but hope that they do. A shiny new Pollock jersey is way down my list! I do agree however with some of your points comparing Puig to Pollock as players and the teams reasoning behind the moves. This at least spends some of the $$ saved from the Farmer deal.

      1. The only current Dodger whose jersey I own is Kershaw. I am collecting Hall of Famers’ jerseys. I have Koufax, Sutton, Piazza, and Duke Snider.

    2. Very well stated AC. Pollock is a stud with all around game. If he’s healthy, this is a steal! He could work out for us like Jim Edmonds worked out for the Cardinals. Another guy that had trouble staying on the field early in his career and stabilized in his 30’s.

  10. I have no beef on how they are sailing our ship between reefs. If AF can come up with Realmuto in a fair deal this year AND then corral Noland next season to play third base as a Dodger (bring our OC native home). That’s god-like leadership!

  11. The Dodgers are still in a position to not have to do anything or now, anything else. Adding one more position player probably won’t make them locks for a WS title. The best team doesn’t necessarily advance in the playoffs or win the WS.
    As I remember, Scherzer did not win one game against the Dodgers in last year’s playoffs. Joc’s home run ended his perfect game in the top of the 7th and then the Dodgers went on to beat the Brewers relievers. Pitching and defense usual wins but who knows what happens when both teams pitch and defend well.
    Teams are using platoons to generate the offense that a superstar might produce. Pederson and Taylor/Herderson will combine to put up numbers comparable to the single star player on other teams.
    I am not sure if Pollock will play left, Belli center, and Verdugo right or if Muncy will move to second an Belli to first so Pollock can play center.
    My guess is that if Verdugo were to be included in a trade for Realmuto then Hernandez would be penciled in in RF or Belli would be moved to RF. An alternative would have Kike’ or CT3 compete for second and whichever one lost would platoon with Joc in LF.
    Willie Davis hit 42 points worse against lefties than righties at the same age as Peterson.

      1. Bum

        I was still pretty young when Willie Davis was in his last year with the Dodgers, but I remember him well.

        Do you know what his War was in his last year with the Dodgers at age 31 I believe?

        He had a 3.9 War that year, and he only hit 16 HRs.

        I didn’t know how well his numbers would translate to the numbers they use today, but he had pretty good War numbers late in his career, because he had a War of 5.5 the year before.

        1. Willie was the most exciting base runner I have ever watched. He would score from second on bunts and score from second in situations when no one else would try. The guy could fly. The difference between Davis and Puig was that both would attempt the exciting play but Davis would be save and Puig, not near as often.

          1. Bum

            I wish I saw him in his prime.

            He has that body type, that you would think he would run like a gazelle.

            I missed his prime and Koufax, although I knew who Koufax was, when I was five, for some reason.

          2. Wills would be my favorite base runner. The opponent could know he was going to steal & still he would steal! He would get on base & the fans would chant “go, go. go” Willie was faster, but Maury was a better base runner in my opinion.

      2. How do you figure?

        At age 22, he hit .276 against LHP and .290 against RHP
        At age 24, he hit .275 against LHP and .327 against RHP

        He had some good and bad years against LHP, but his carerr was also up and down. For his career he hit .248 against LHP and .294 against RHP.

        On the other hand, Joc hits .181 against LHP. Joc averages about 60 points less than Willie against RHP and he simply cannot hit Lefties. Willie could hit lefties (sometimes better than others) but his defense would keep him in every day.

        1. Mark

          The defense part, is why I wasn’t sure how Willie’s numbers would translate today.

          Because I knew he was a very good defensive centerfielder, from what everyone said.

        2. My stats were from an article that talked about how the game has changed where today teams can reduce payroll by using platoons and not have too much fall off from a higher paid player that plays against all pitchers.
          Joc and Willie was given as an example when the author compared Joc’s last year with Willie’s matching age year.

          1. Bum

            To tell you the truth, I really don’t think War is that great of a number, at least on it’s own.

  12. Pollock injury problems reminds me Jason Werth. If A.J. he is healthy look out… I’m really happy with the ‘D’ he brings… CF for sure with a day off here n there and Belli 1B where he belongs… Now all we need, which won’t happen is a good defensive 2B to have one of my favorite sayings ‘Defense up the Middle’…

      1. I like The comparison, but I think 59inarow’s Jim Edmonds comp is better. The point is you do not have to have the magazine cover star. Sometimes junkyard dogs like Pollock (and Edmonds and Werth) can get you to the finish line.

    1. The problem with Werth IMHO was that Werth was part of the #3, 4, and 5 spots along with Garciaparra and Brett. Can’t have all three of those spots in the lineup, a team’s best hitters, all injury prone. That situation won’t happen with Pollock.

  13. For everyone complicating about losing Puigs “Arm” in the field just read this from MLB Pipline top 10 OF prospects…
    “All three players have plus-plus arm strength, and collectively they’ve recorded 130 outfield assists in the Minors. More than half belong to Verdugo, who has 59 career assists and hosed 24 baserunners back in 2015. Robles and Pache have 38 and 33 outfield assists, respectively, and each has had at least one season with 15-plus assists.” So to make it short and sweet, Verdugo will 100% be an upgraded arm over Puig.

    1. Many teams viewed Verdugo as a pitcher coming out of the draft. Dude has a gun, maybe better than Puig. Also takes good routes, he played CF not because of his speed, but because of his instincts. I just don’t know if he’ll hit enough, or ever develop power.

      1. He has one of the best hit tool in the Minors, he will hit and as he keeps training and increasing strength those doubles off the wall will be HRs in the stands, Hit tool is the hardest thing to teach, but his Hit tool is far beyond K Bear or anyone else in the system

        1. Kay bear struck out 8.7 % of the time as a 19 year-old in AA where most players were 4 years older. I can’t remember anyone having that kind of hit tool at 19… not even Verdugo… and he’s got a great hit tool.

          1. You use that one stat for one year, look at the career numbers with verdugo playing better competition 4 years younger at every stop. I think K bear will be good but his hit tool is not on the same level as verdugo.

      2. And we agree yet again. Verdugo is an outstanding defensive OF where his range will fare better in right than in CF. Puig’s arm is proven but certainly not his routes or his desire do it all himself. If Verdugo matures he could be a better overall defensive RF. But without the pop, he is going to need that .380+ OBP to be that AS corner OF.

      3. Mike

        I agree with you about Verdugo throwing to the cut of man, and following the fundamentals of the game.

        But to be fair, Puig not only has a strong arm, he also releases his throw like an infielder, so he has a very quick release for an outfielder.

        And in the last few years, not many runners would even attempt to run on Puig, so he didn’t get as many chances, to pick up many assists.

        I am not knocking Verdugo as much as I am just being truthful, about Puig having not only a good arm, but he has a very quick release too.

  14. I want to clarify my comment about being a true fan of LA
    I did not refer anyone in this blog, I mean so many pages, so many chat where 99% of people only criticize, they are negative, they never like anything.
    I’m not ” very happy ” for Pollock either, but he’s already on our team, why not wait to see what happens when the season starts?
    I, like all of you, am tired of waiting so many years to see a world champion trophy!
    I offer an apology to those who have been offended by my comment
    And by the way, I do not speak 100% the English language yet, so I still have to use the translator from time to time.

    1. Jorge, your English is just fine. As far as offending, you did not say anything different than many others have said. And it was not offensive. Some will like Pollock(me), and some will not. I think that is true with every player. The complaints about Pollock are mild compared to those who are bitter that Harper is not a Dodger (yet) just as much as many of us would be if Harper were signed by LAD. Differences are fun.

    2. Jorge

      Your English is just fine.

      No one expects perfection here, or for anyone to have all the same opinions or talking points.

  15. I have always liked Pollock. If he had not had a few of those injuries, AZ might have replaced the Dodgers with a few of their Divisions championships. I hope we get his unbroken years. Thanks for grooming him AZ.

  16. From Buster Olney (this is the part that is not paid):
    There were moments in recent seasons when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about Yasiel Puig’s daily approach to his work, about his consistency, and Roberts would pause and smile and look down, collecting and perhaps measuring his thoughts.

    Whatever he said after that really didn’t matter as much as that initial tell.

    Puig improved his play after his brief banishment to the minor leagues in 2016, posting an .833 OPS in 152 games in 2017 and .820 in 2018, and there were stretches in which his defensive performance was as good as anyone playing the position. But there continued to be a daily mystery about the manner in which Puig would go about his business — his timeliness at work, his preparation, how he would take his at-bats. Sometimes he was locked in and disciplined, a lot of times he wasn’t.

    Any questions? You have to read the rest of the article…

    1. Certainly, Dodger fans who do not like Buster Olney will complain about what Olney discusses in his article. Certainly, Puig fans will really rail against Olney from the innuendos in the article. In addition to what Mark posted, Olney went on to finish the article in this manner:
      “During Game 1 of the World Series, the Dodgers’ outfielders seemed to be positioned particularly deep in Fenway Park, certainly deeper than what the Red Sox staff was accustomed to seeing in opponents. L.A.’s coaching staff noted this as well and discussed it before Game 2. One of the X factors, however, was Puig, and how he might move on his own. Unlike other Dodgers outfielders, he sometimes would not carry the defensive-positioning card generated by the coaches.
      In the fifth inning of Game 2, the Red Sox rallied against Hyun-Jin Ryu and the reliever who took over, Ryan Madson. With the bases loaded and two out, J.D. Martinez punched a line drive to right field — in front of Puig, who had been playing very deep, again, in Fenway’s unusually large right field. Two runs scored, the Red Sox grabbed a 4-2 lead, and took control of the World Series.
      Moving forward, the new Dodgers will make their fair share of mistakes; the coaching staff will make mistakes. But as L.A.’s roster turns over into 2019, there probably will be fewer questions about whether one of the players has prepared in a way to put himself in the best possible position.”

      I have witnessed multiple occasions where Puig does not go back on the ball very well at all. He is far more comfortable coming up for the ball. Great defenders will play up to take the single away because they know they have the ability to go back on the ball. That has not been Puig’s game. That being said, Yasiel is a very good RF with a cannon of an arm. While he has a superior arm to Jason Heyward, he does not take routes to the ball as does Heyward, thus IMO why he has not been named a GG. Puig is not alone. Belli still needs a lot of work going back on a ball. CT3 is getting better and showed so in the WS last year. Joc is still the one Dodger who can effortlessly go back on a ball. But he has problems with confidence with balls hit in the gap while looking straight on. While Joc is a natural CF, I like him much better in LF. Belli and CT3 are not natural players on the grass. They are exceptional athletes who do improve with a lot of hard work.

      1. So, now we getting the “back story.” The Dodgers were soooo done with Puig. Forgetting any other moves, this may have been “addition by subtraction.”

        Sorry to offend Puig fans, but after his Rookie year he should have been traded.

        1. Some of us said so at the time. The warning signs were there from early on with him.
          The childishness & ill discipline didn’t bode well.
          In the end we got nothing for him.

        2. Puig is the only player I have bashed due to his reckless play in the outfield. I merely suggested trades for other players that were not my favorites.

      2. Joc’s weight has gone up and that certainly has slowed him down. Joc can play shallower than others due to his ability to go back on a ball. I wonder if playing shallower gives him a disadvantage in getting to balls in the gap. He usually takes good routes and gets a good jump on balls. I would love to see him lose weight and play CF again but I am happy with him just being on the team and getting to watch him play.
        Players are taught to not call for a ball until they know they can catch it. Joc probably waits too long to call for a ball. I am also sure that his multiple collisions with Puig on balls in the gap along with a couple of leg muscle pulls was the cause of his poorest year, 2017.

  17. Was wondering if Miami wants us to include Starlin Castro in a trade for Realmuto?
    I’m sure they would like to unload his salary if at all possible, and of course The Dodgers have Gavin Lux as a potential replacement.
    I guess we could use Castro at 2B, but he is earning $11m this year & $16m next.

    1. Joc is not a smart person, not studious and is not a hard worker. That’s why the Dodgers are trying to trade him. The problem is that all of baseball knows that and that’s why the Dodgers won’t get much for him. That’s also why they didn’t get a haul for Wood, Kemp and Puig.

      1. Exactly! You don’t think the Reds brass knew the backstory with Puig and why the Dodgers were trying to get rid of him. That’s obviously going to factor in to his trade value. That’s what the inveterate Friedman haters don’t get when they argue the Dodgers should’ve gotten more for him.

    2. I was afraid of that. That pic works both ways. Dodgers want to trade an out of shape player and can’t find a team that wants to pay $5M for a player that out of shape.

      1. It’s a shame, but it shows his lack of seriousness in becoming a plus defender again, Meanwhile the Dodgers are seeing Verdugo, putting in work, getting into really good shape and they are wondering who is more serious about this, right now I’d say they are leaning towards Verdugo

  18. I’ve grown to like Joc, he is one of our own.
    Joc, Corey, Cody, Julio, Walker and hopefully Alex, have all been our number one prospects in recent years, and none have been traded away, and now form a strong nucleus to our team.
    That’s how Championship teams are formed.

    1. That is a pretty good nucleus for a 25 man roster. Just about 25%. I am assuming that Keibert Ruiz will ascend to the #1 once Verdugo moves to the LAD dugout. Thus next year, another #1 will be ready to assume the mantle; Ruiz. Gavin Lux and Dustin May…your time is coming as well.

  19. In Ken Gurnick’s Inbox responses:
    Does Alex Verdugo or Andrew Toles have a chance to play as an everyday player for the club? If not, should they continue to shop Verdugo for a J.T. Realmuto or Corey Kluber?
    — @edware32 via Twitter
    Seager was called up in September 2015, started immediately and played a big role in that year’s postseason. That’s how management handles players considered to be imminent starters. Neither Verdugo nor Toles was a factor down the stretch or through the postseason last year. Dodgers management hasn’t demonstrated that it considers either a likely everyday player to start the season. Verdugo has more trade value than Toles.
    How many innings do the Dodgers project for Julio Urias this year?
    — @dmaxlaw via Twitter
    The Dodgers don’t give innings projections. When Walker Buehler threw five innings in 2016 after Tommy John surgery, he followed that with 98 innings in 2017. Urias threw 22 innings in 2018 after shoulder surgery, so I would guess 100-125 innings this year. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he expects Urias to pitch as a starter and reliever this season as the club monitors his innings.
    Also a good article on the status of the pitchers:

  20. See the problem I have with writers is sometimes they have no idea what they’re talking about, Verdugo is coming into spring training playing for a starting every day spot, I’ve herd that from multiple sources who were told this by AF, they mention that he isn’t entitled to a position which I agree. He has to ball out and play like the FO know he can and win a starting spot. There is a reason why the Dodgers havent traded Verdugo and are actively trying to trade Joc, they see him in their future.

    1. I agree with that take. Toles should get a shot too and see if he and Verdugo can impress in ST. I do think Joc is worth the $5M he earns and should have value for someone, not room for all 3 and the other 2 make barely $1M combined. I would like to see an open competition with at least the 40 man guys getting long looks with a chance to stick at some point.

  21. Depending upon what ranking level you look at, the Dodgers have signed more of the Top 15 Free Agents and spent more money than any other team… so far!


    Maybe the Nats have spent more… but you get my drift.

  22. I am sure the Padres are trying to wreck the Dodgers plans to get Realmuto…. and they have the assets.

    1. They do, but they don’t need JTR, they have 2 young catchers already there and aren’t going to compete this year anyway. Machado in SD? Please…. They are just trying to drive the price up and make Hosmer and the fans happy they tried.

      1. The Padres need a third baseman and I don’t think they have one in the pipeline. If he signs for 7+ years he would be there when their young guys start to make a difference. So, maybe. The Padres would want to get Realmuto to extend before they traded for him.
        Pitchers want to avoid Colorado and hitters want to avoid San Diego.

  23. Everything I see on TV and read indicates the Dodgers would have to give up either Ruiz or Verdugo to get Realmuto. Ruiz would not be missed for a couple of years with Realmuto and Smith on the Dodgers but who would play RF if Verdugo were traded, Hernandez?

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