Pollock 'not as likely' to accept qualifying offer

A.J. Pollock has missed a considerable amount of time with injuries during his career, but he offers a well-rounded skill set and is sure to be a top free-agent target for clubs in need of outfield help this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran center fielder.

A.J. Pollock has missed a considerable amount of time with injuries during his career, but he offers a well-rounded skill set and is sure to be a top free-agent target for clubs in need of outfield help this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran center fielder.

Pollock ‘seen as not as likely’ to accept D-backs’ QO
Nov. 7: The D-backs’ $17.9 million qualifying offer would represent a salary more than double what Pollock has ever earned in a single season, but the prospect of playing on a one-year deal — particularly given his health history — might be a risk too great for Pollock to take. The veteran center fielder is expected to turn down Arizona’s qualifying offer and seek a multiyear deal, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Folks see Ryu as possibility to take 17.9M qualifying offer. Grandal, Pollock seen as not as likely. Harper, Kimbrel, Keuchel, Corbin will decline QO.

Pollock, who recently hired Excel Sports Management as he meanders through the free-agency waters, has played in just 237 games over the last three seasons while slashing .261/.323/.473 with 37 homers in that span. A 2015 All-Star, Pollock was a very early favorite for the National League MVP Award in ’18 after a torrid start in April before suffering an avulsion fracture in his left thumb that sidelined him nearly two months. 

Video: LAD@ARI: Pollock hammers 3 home runs vs. Dodgers

Pollock has been speculated to net a deal as high as $60 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. 

Will Pollock get a multi-year deal if he declines the QO?
Nov. 6: FanGraphs’ ranking of the Top 50 free agents this winter has Pollock at No. 7 and projects him to score a multi-year pact for either three or four years at roughly $16 million to $18 million per. That’s a nice potential payday for a player who has across-the-board tools but has reached the 500-plate appearance threshold only once due to numerous injury issues.

In fact, MLB Network analyst Jim Duquette suggested recently that Pollock might be better off with the guaranteed money the qualifying offer presents.

“Usually guys who play that little don’t get big deals in the winter time,” Duquette said Monday on MLB Network Radio regarding Pollock, who has played just 237 games over the past three years combined. “If he wants to get the big deal, take one more year in Arizona. Take that qualifying offer. Stay healthy for one season and then go back out [on the free-agent market] at age 31.”

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) to #DBacks OF AJ Pollock:Take the Qualifying Offer. pic.twitter.com/VwaRv8PKyr

Accepting the qualifying offer not only would provide the outfielder with excellent compensation for 2019, but would also allow him to avoid the risks of hitting the open market after rejecting said offer, forcing teams other than Arizona to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him.

That said, the center-field market is thin beyond Pollock, and The Athletic’s Jim Bowden doesn’t think the outfielder will lose much in average annual value if he signs a multi-year deal. Rather, Bowden projects Pollock to make $45 million over three years, naming the Phillies, Mets, D-backs, Indians, Mariners and Giants among the best fits for the veteran, whom he ranks 11th overall on his list of the Top 35 free agents (subscription required).

Pollock to the Big Apple?
Nov. 4: Newsday’s Tim Healey identified three major areas of need for the Mets as new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen heads to the General Managers Meetings in California, one of which is center field. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are New York’s current options in center, but with Van Wagenen saying recently that the club needs to get better defensively up the middle, it may look to upgrade there and move those sluggers to the corner outfield positions. Healey suggests Pollock could be the answer, both defensively and offensively.

Pollock, who was extended a qualifying offer by the D-backs and therefore comes with Draft pick compensation attached to his free agency, got off to a strong start last season before getting hurt. Through May 14, he was hitting .293/.349/.620 with 11 homers and nine steals in 40 games. But that’s when he fractured his thumb trying to make a diving play in center, missing more than a month. After returning, he slashed .236/.297/.407 with 10 homers over his final 73 games.

Nevertheless, Pollock turns 31 in December and could give the Mets what they need in center if he returns to form at the plate.

MLBTR projects Pollock to earn $60 million contract
Nov. 3: Pollock might not net a contract in the neighborhood of Bryce Harper, but the veteran center fielder should do nicely, according to projections from MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes.

Dierkes predicts Pollock will receive a four year offer for $60 million, which was the eighth-richest contract of the 50 he projected. He also predicted that the Giants would be the club to make that offer. 

San Francisco would seem to be a strong fit for Pollock, who has — when healthy — excelled in the National League West. The former D-backs’ first-round Draft pick is a career .274/.331/.565 within the division and has thrived against some of its best pitchers.

The Giants are in need of outfielders after losing Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Pence from 2018. Their current contingent consists of three rookies: Steven Duggar is slated to play center, with Chris Shaw in left and Austin Slater in right. The club is also still seeking a replacement for general manager Bobby Evans, so that void will likely need to be filled before any significant free-agent signings take place.

Durability will always be a question mark for Pollock — he’s suffered a broken hand, an elbow fracture, a groin strain and a thumb fracture — so he likely won’t earn a deal in the range of Lorenzo Cain (five years, $80 million with the Brewers) and Dexter Fowler (five years, $82.5 million with the Cardinals), per Dierkes’ projections. But he’s arguably the best center-field option in this year’s class. The other free agents at the position include Adam Jones, Rajai Davis, Eric Young Jr. and Austin Jackson

Video: A.J. Pollock to miss 4-8 weeks with thumb fracture

D-backs extend qualifying offers to Pollock, Corbin
Nov. 2: The D-backs extended one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offers to Pollock and Patrick Corbin on Friday, and the two players have 10 days to accept or decline.

Corbin should decline the qualifying offer and test the market for a long-term contract, with the Yankees among the myriad of teams that will likely pursue the 29-year-old southpaw.

But the decision for Pollock is less certain. He would be the top available center fielder in a thin market this offseason, and waiting another year to enter free agency might jeopardize his market for the soon-to-be 31-year-old. But given his injury history, a full season of production might make for a more lucrative long-term deal next offseason.

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