Over the weekend, former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, which, at first, looked like a miss, considering Andrew Friedman needs to a fill a void in left field.
The Pollock-for-Craig Kimbrel swap was a massive failure, so a reunion with Pollock at a cheaper price could've been a win-win for the Dodgers, who would've saved the money they needed to while getting back a productive (when healthy) player without having to commit long term.
In a sense, it was a miss. Pollock for $7 million? When Trayce Thompson probably isn't an everyday starter? When we're penciling in James Outman as a surefire starter when he's logged just four MLB games? When Miguel Vargas has played 30 career games in left field?
But it doesn't have to be a miss. In fact, it could actually help the Dodgers in their pursuit of a better outfield option. Now that the Mariners have all but officially exited the Bryan Reynolds sweepstakes, the trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates could get to where the Dodgers want them to be.
The Pirates were in search of multiple high-end prospect/young MLB-ready pitchers in the Reynolds talks, and the Dodgers and Mariners were the two best positioned to make that happen. LA could lead the pack by default now.
Did AJ Pollock signing help Dodgers with Bryan Reynolds trade?
Not to mention, there was a reported consensus among buyers that Pittsburgh's asking price for Reynolds was unrealistic. How much more unrealistic could it get with one of the most desirable suitors no longer in play?
The Dodgers ostensibly have an advantage over the other rumored destinations -- Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers -- because of the arsenal of young pitchers they possess. Even a weaker package from LA would more than likely best whatever offer those other three teams could make when compared to the Pirates' asking price.
The truth is that the Dodgers can't afford to pay a premium with pitching prospects in a deal for Reynolds. They have far too much promising talent that they're hoping can replace one or more of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías and Walker Buehler either after 2023 or 2024.
Had they signed Pollock, they could've bought themselves another year. But they got the next best thing: Pollock went to the one other team that was likely helping the Pirates in their pursuit to get the greatest possible return for Reynolds.