3. AJ Pollock
When the Dodgers used their financial might to sign AJ Pollock to a four-year, $55 million contract, they took a chance in hopes he would provide a couple of healthy MVP-caliber seasons in LA. This was a former first-round pick and five-tool player we’re talking about. It wasn’t a terrible investment for how much the Dodgers can afford to spend.
However, it hasn’t really worked out. Pollock’s only “full” season over the last three years was his 55-game showing in the 60-game shortened 2020 campaign. Though his offensive numbers with the Dodgers are pretty good (.282 average, .856 OPS), his defense has taken a massive step back. He’s been a negative dWAR and DRS player since arriving in LA.
For the 2023 season, he has a $10 million player option with a $5 million buyout. If he has a decent campaign, he might be inclined to take the easy $5 million and explore free agency for one more potential multi-year contract (he’s entering his age-34 season, so the clock is ticking). It’s not like a one-year, $10 million deal is anything he can’t refuse at this point, especially if half of it is free should he turn it down.
The only way it seems reasonable for Pollock to opt in to 2023 is if he has a horrid or drastically injury-shortened campaign that would prevent him from getting much of anything on the open market. Plus, if the NL gets the DH in the new CBA, Pollock might be inclined to explore his options even if he doesn’t have an impressive season. There are a lot of variables/moving parts here, but Pollock’s future is surely a bit murky.