Arguably the biggest acquisition made over the Dodgers offseason came via free-agency. In a move that may have surprised some, the Dodgers previous long-time foe, A.J. Pollock, was acquired from none-other than the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It’s a brilliant move by Friedman and the Dodgers front office. In one fell-swoop, L.A. acquired Pollock without having to trade anyone and they acquired a Gold-Glove centerfielder from a division rival.
Throughout the last few years, Arizona has persistently fought the Dodgers tooth-and-nail for N.L. West supremacy.
(This begs the question: why would they give up Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, and A.J. Pollock, in one single offseason? But as fans, maybe we shouldn’t look a gift-horse in its mouth, especially while the Dodgers reside in the perennially competitive N.L. West.)
With that said, Pollock presents an immediate upgrade to the Dodgers’ outfield and to the entire team.
When healthy, Pollock has proven himself to be a premier leadoff man with elite defensive capabilities anywhere in the outfield, a leader in the clubhouse, and a mainstay amongst the elite outfielders in the National League.
At the “ripe old age” of 31, some may argue that Pollock is at the downslope of an oft-injured career. I argue that as a (free-agent) acquisition from a division rival, for only the cost of a contract (4 years at $55M), and considering the high ceiling of talent and production that Pollock can very possibly bring the Dodgers for the next few years is, Pollock is without a doubt a risk the Dodgers were rightful to take.
Acquisition Grade: “A”
Dodgers’ fans know that Corey Seager is not a new addition to the Dodgers organization.
However, he effectively serves as a new addition to the lineup in 2019 after missing nearly all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery and hip surgery.
A stalwart at shortstop, the 2-hole, and the clubhouse, Seager’s reemergence into the everyday lives of the Dodgers and the Dodgers’ fans will be, without question, a welcomed sight for sore eyes.
Without the need to shuffle the lineup, find expensive free agents, and churn various super-utility men in and out of the shortstop position, Seager (along with Pollock) should instantly provide the Dodgers with the much needed stability that their everyday lineup certainly lacked throughout most of last regular season and into the postseason.
Reacquisition Grade: “A+”
With the two players who bookend Key Additions, the phrase “if you can’t beat em, join em” sarcastically comes to mind. With ex-Diamondback Pollock joining the Dodgers and the Dodgers joining ex-Red Sox Kelly, the phrase rings true nevertheless.
Regardless of who’s joining whom, Joe Kelly proved to all Dodgers fans throughout the entirety of last season’s World Series just how viciously true clichés can be.
Kelly carved through the Dodgers lineup last year with the precision of a butcher sectioning off fresh fish courtesy of the Atlantic Ocean.
Now, the butcher, thankfully, is on our side. All it cost the Dodgers was a mere $25M to incur the services of “The Ender of Worlds,” for three glorious years.
Hailing from Corona, CA, Kelly eventually played college ball for the University of California, Riverside (UCR).
There he converted from high school outfielder to UCR’s closer. Before being taken in the 3rd round of the MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Kelly was named as an All-American.
Kelly has endured a tumultuous career of ups and downs, though what journeyman reliever-turned World Series hero hasn’t?
Initially used as a starter with St. Louis, Kelly went back-and-forth between starting pitcher and reliever too many times.
This type of mistreatment is a common theme amongst highly-touted arms (especially hard throwers) after being drafted.
However, his ability to bear down upon hitters while in the midst of the most extreme and pressure-filled situations could very likely be an attribute of his Major League “upbringing.” In other words, Kelly has earned his stripes.
This becomes utterly apparent to anyone who watches present-day Joe Kelly pitch.
When Kelly is on, he’s dominant in ways that few pitchers throughout baseball can equal.
His persona on the mound paired with his pure flame-throwing abilities send hitters in a spiral down toward the dugout with a certain feeling of hopelessness.
This type of effect is exactly what the Dodgers needed last year after it became apparent that they hadn’t possessed a legitimate, championship caliber setup-man since they let Brandon Morrow leave for the Northside of Chicago two years ago.
It’s ironic that Joe Kelly has been brought to Los Angeles to effectively fill the void left by Brandon Morrow’s departure because, like Kelly, Morrow was misused in the Mariners’ Organization to the point of almost leaving baseball forever.
It’s hard not to notice the similarities.
Acquisition Grade: “A”