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2022 Dodgers in review: AJ Pollock

AJ Pollock was a Dodger in 2022, very briefly

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Pollock was a pretty well-liked player and a veteran presence in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. His trade to the White Sox came as a bit of a shock, not only because of what he had done in the previous season, but also with the timing of it.

The former Diamondback signed a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season to come out west and play left field for the Dodgers, and his first impression in Los Angeles was a very poor one. Pollock struggled in 2019, but bounced back in a very strong way in 2020 and 2021. To give you some perspective, out of every player who spent the entire 2021 campaign with the Dodgers, Pollock led the group in slugging percentage (.536) ahead of tars like Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Will Smith and Max Muncy.

The veteran outfielder was originally brought in to be a lefty masher, but did more than his part against same-handed pitchers. Pollock actually hit better against righties in 2021 with a .902 OPS.

Despite reaching his mid-30s, Pollock was climbing in his Dodgers’ career, and thus his trade in the last week of spring training, with the lineup pretty much set, was a bit of a shock to the clubhouse, and it ultimately signaled a clear intent in opening up at-bats for Gavin Lux.

The trade didn’t end up working out for either team, as Craig Kimbrel never truly earned any meaningful level of confidence in his ability to close out games, with one of the worst seasons of his career. Pollock had unequivocally his worst full season in the majors, with an 91 OPS+ well below league average.

It’s kind of poetic that after one year, both organizations are done with both players. The Dodgers went as far as leaving Kimbrel off of their postseason roster, while Pollock opted out of the final season of his contract, forgoing a $10-million salary in favor of a $5-million buyout.

Pollock, much like Kimbrel, has unquestionable talent, and will surely find a home elsewhere, and look to bounce back.

The former Dodger actually remained healthy, which has seldom been the case over his big league career, but posted full-season lows in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, isolated power, and WAR.

There was a silver lining for the Dodgers in giving up Pollock, as Lux finally flourished and displayed the potential he showed as a prospect with a breakout 2022 campaign.

2022 particulars

Age: 34

Stats: 245/.298/.329, 92 wRC+, 26 doubles, 14 HR, 3 SB, 0.4 bWAR, 0.5 fWAR

Salary: $11.5 million ($10 million in salary, plus a $1.5 million trade bonus)

Game of the year

Pollock went 4-for-5 on September 10 against the Oakland A’s, and scored three runs en route to an easy 10-2 win for Chicago. It was his season high.

Roster status

Pollock is a free agent.