The real problem with the Molina signing

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Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a hilarious — though painful for Giants’ fans — takedown of the Bengie Molina signing that’s definitely worth a read.  But it’s something that he says after the phony press conference that I think gets at the basic problem with the signing:

I’m actually fine with the idea that Posey should be eased into the
starting job; he’s young, and catching is a heckuva strain on the body.
If Posey was really worn down after the Hawaiian League, spring
training, the minors for a full season, sitting on the bench in the
majors, and the Arizona Fall League, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let
him ease into the job.

Driving the Giants’ desire to bring in Molina — or some other veteran catcher — was their belief, based on Buster Posey’s less-than-thrilling performance in the Arizona Fall League, that Posey wasn’t ready to start. But as Grant notes, that stretch came after a long year for the guy. He caught a ton of games once you figure in the winter league in which he played. He had to have been gassed by the time he got to Arizona.

I find it troubling that the Giants would put that much on their young catcher’s odometer in the first instance — let the kid rest his knees for cryin’ out loud — but I find it more troubling that, in making the decision that Posey isn’t ready for a starting job in the majors, they’re giving his performance at the end of that marathon greater weight than what he accomplished when he was fresher last summer.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if the Giants have no chance this year. In such an instance saving your catcher for the future may not be a bad thing at all.  But the Giants do have a chance. They have excellent pitching, the Dodgers are likely going to slide back, and the division could be San Francisco’s for the taking.

But they’re going to start Bengie Molina every day, and will likely have him hitting way higher in the lineup than he has any right to be. It’s that kind of thing that costs teams playoff spots.

A.J. Pollock may be the Dodgers’ next free agent target

A.J. Pollock
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Free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock has landed on the Dodgers’ radar, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the two appear to be in discussions regarding a deal for 2019. Terms of any prospective deal have not been released, but interest is presumed to be fairly high as he checks two boxes on their wish list: that of a right-handed hitter and an experienced centerfielder.

Pollock, 31, rounded out a seven-year career with the Diamondbacks in 2018. While he was sidelined for nearly seven weeks after fracturing his left thumb on a dive gone wrong, he finished the season batting a hearty .257/.316/.484 with a career-best 21 home runs, 13 steals (in 15 chances), and 2.5 fWAR across 460 plate appearances. He received a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the club at the end of the year and elected to enter free agency in hopes of a better deal, which some have estimated at five years and $80 million.

So far, it’s not clear whether teams are willing to meet those terms. Pollock profiles as both a solid hitter and defender, but he hasn’t played a season in full health since 2015, which may be a deal-breaker for those in search of long-term talent. Even with that caveat, however, the Dodgers are far from the only club willing to enter negotiations with the outfielder this winter. The Braves have been linked to Pollock since December, and the Mets and Reds have expressed varying levels of interest as well.