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Sources: Outfielder A.J. Pollock, Dodgers agree to long-term deal

·MLB columnist
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A.J. Pollock, the hyper-athletic outfielder whose career has been dulled by injuries, has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources tell Yahoo Sports. The deal is pending a physical. According to multiple reports, it’s a four-year deal worth $55 million with a player option for a fifth year.

Pollock would join a rotation of outfielders including Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson (Pederson’s name was floated in trade rumors last week with the Chicago White Sox).

A former Gold Glove winner in center field who, when upright, has hit for power, hit for average and stolen bases, Pollock also is a regular in the trainer’s room. Since 2015, when Pollock batted .315, hit 20 home runs and stole 39 bases, he played 12 games in 2016, 112 in 2017 and 113 in 2018. Among other issues, he has suffered a broken elbow, a groin strain, a broken thumb and a broken hand.

In 113 games last season, A.J. Pollock hit 21 home runs, though his batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.316) were well below career rates. (Getty Images)
In 113 games last season, A.J. Pollock hit 21 home runs, though his batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.316) were well below career rates. (Getty Images)

In those 113 games last season, Pollock hit 21 home runs, though his batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.316) were well below career rates. As he will be 31 going into the 2019 season and relies on speed for parts of his value, Pollock would be viewed as a next-level option in free agency, below Bryce Harper and perhaps Michael Brantley, but a class thin in outfielders – Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, Steve Pearce follow Pollock – would convince many to believe Pollock’s injury misfortunes are due to change.

Pollock, who made $7.75 million in 2018, rejected the Arizona Diamondbacks’ qualifying offer – and $17.9 million – to make a go of free agency. He’d be betting teams do not view him as an injury risk, but rather as an unlucky player who otherwise produces on both sides of the ball.

When Pollock broke his thumb in mid-May, he was batting .293 and OPSing .969, primarily as the Diamondbacks’ cleanup hitter. He returned in early July and batted .236 with a .704 OPS through the end of the season. After hitting 11 home runs in his first 150 at-bats, he hit 10 in his final 263. He consistently denied that effects of the broken thumb – his left, injured diving for a ball in the outfield – limited his offense, but likely would benefit from another five months of healing.

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