We all saw the writing on the wall. The past two weeks included Aaron Judge, Trae Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and many more capable bats landing exorbitant contracts that always seemed too rich for the Mariner’s liking. President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, followed the Winter Meetings up with a media circuit, in which he hammered home the “Draft, Develop, Trade” strategy. One sticking point was his continued posturing about how the team has already spent big dollars with extensions for Luis Castillo and Julio Rodriguez. However, while dollars might not be at a premium this offseason, a few players can fill the team’s needs at a low cost. According to Dodger’s reporter Scott Geirman, AJ Pollock is one of them.
AJ Pollock Could Fill the Carlos Santana Role
When Dipoto traded for Carlos Santana in May last year, only a few people applauded the transaction. Mainly because the 12-year veteran switch hitter struggled with the Kansas City Royals to .216/.349/.341 slash line. Santana would slug at a higher rate with Seattle and provide some clutch hits during his tenure and an immense amount of leadership on the American League’s second-youngest team.
A.J. Pollock could slide right into that void for the 2023 Mariners. The 35-year-old outfielder has playoff experience with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, rotating between all three positions. He’s a quality bat who’s performed at an above-average level (113 wRC+) since he made his debut in 2012. Pollock also mashes lefthanded pitching amassing a .299 average with 34 home runs and 102 runs batted in over his ten-year career.
Pollock would provide the platoon partner the Mariners need to allow Jarred Kelenic to develop at the MLB level. One of the most critical points is Kelenic only has one remaining minor league option. Dipoto and General Manager Justin Hollander should do everything they can to preserve that option while setting the former top prospect up for success.
Sign AJ Pollock to a 2yr $22M deal.
It’s not a flashy signing we all wanted when the offseason began. The soundbites, the tea leaves, or the writing on the wall have ALWAYS said, “this team doesn’t spend big dollars for hitters.” Nori Aoki was the last free agent bat Dipoto signed (2015). Let’s say Pollock is marketably a better player than the diminutive Aoki, He can run in a straight line to the ball and possesses the track record to make a difference on this club. That’s enough for this team to buck the trend.