White Sox' AJ Pollock declines player option, hits free agency

Pollock declines option with White Sox, hits free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Outfielder AJ Pollock has declined his 2023 player option with the White Sox and is now a free agent.

Pollock’s option was worth $13 million. He’ll instead receive a $5 million buyout as he hits the open market.

"Not shocking if you look at the free agent market right now," general manager Rick Hahn said at the GM Meetings Tuesday of Pollock's decision.

"There's not a ton of right-handed hitting outfield bats. Also, it gives him the opportunity to pick the ideal situation for him going into next season. As a veteran player, he's earned the right to that."

The White Sox acquired Pollock from the Dodgers in March in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The 35-year-old hit .245/.292/.389 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs 138 games.

He played all three outfield spots and brought a track record of success against left-handed pitching to the South Side. Pollock posted a .935 OPS against southpaws.

"He was a true pro for us, worked extremely hard," Hahn said. "Obviously didn't quite have the year that any of us, including himself, envisioned. But I think his future remains bright and it was good to have him."

The Pollock decision frees up an additional $8 million for Hahn as he looks to tweak the roster following a disappointing 2022 season.

The Sox freed up $4 million Monday by declining Josh Harrison’s club option for 2023, instead paying him a $1.5 million buyout.

Addressing the outfield already figured to be a priority. The depth chart currently includes Eloy Jiménez, Adam Engel (who's arbitration-eligible for the final time), Luis Robert, Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn.

Sheets and Vaughn played out of position in 2022, however, and Jiménez was almost exclusively a DH down the stretch — thriving offensively along the way.

Top outfield prospect Oscar Colas reached Triple-A in 2022 and could be in the mix for a 2023 debut.

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer

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