Dodgers: Why did LAD feel the need to spend big money on AJ Pollock?

After the 2018 season, Los Angeles Dodgers fans will admit that the team needed to do something big. Two straight losses in the World Series was simply not going to cut it.

Manny Machado wasn’t the answer after the team had acquired him prior to the trade deadline. They let him go to the San Diego Padres. Yasmani Grandal left for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Were they going to go with a big-time free agent acquisition? Bryce Harper was available. So was Patrick Corbin. Sweet-swinging lefty Michael Brantley was there for the taking. What about Nelson Cruz?

Needed a reliever? Zack Britton, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller … not bad! One of those guys could’ve been a helpful upgrade.

Instead? The Dodgers went with AJ Pollock and Joe Kelly.

We’ve already elaborated upon Kelly, so now it’s time to talk about why LA decided to spend on Pollock, who was activated again on Thursday.

Of all the players in free agency, why did the Dodgers choose AJ Pollock?

Though Pollock had a tremendous 2020 in which he played 55 out of the 60 games and appeared in 14 postseason contests, he played in just 89 games the year prior when his season was cut short due to injury, and he’s already missed time in 2021 after hitting the IL.

The worst part? The Dodgers knew of his lengthy injury history, which spanned years with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 2013: 137 games — no injuries
  • 2014: 75 games — broken hand
  • 2015: 157 games — no injuries
  • 2016: 12 games — fractured elbow
  • 2017: 112 games — groin strain, tight quad
  • 2018: 113 games — broken thumb

Then with the Dodgers? In 2019, he had an elbow infection that severely limited his campaign, and now already in 2021, he’s missed time dealing with a hamstring issue.

Maybe the Dodgers saw MVP potential in Pollock, which isn’t out of the question. He was a five-tool player, but a four-year, $50 million contract to bring him to LA for his age-31-34 seasons? They would’ve been better off signing Marwin Gonzalez to play some corner outfield and take reps in the infield when needed.

This is obviously nothing against Pollock. He’s a good baseball player. He’s just never really healthy, and it’s puzzling to think why the Dodgers thought that trend would all of a sudden halt in its tracks once he arrived in Los Angeles. He’s played 173 games so far during his two-plus years with the Dodgers, though 2020 wasn’t his fault.

We’ll see how this continues to play out, but the clock is ticking, and with each passing day it really looks like the Dodgers whiffed in free agency after the 2018 season.