Major League Baseball issued a press release a little while ago regarding this year’s edition of the Civil Rights Game. The game itself will be May 15th. All of the relevant details are here. Kudos to baseball for not merely putting a couple of teams in Negro Leagues throwbacks, playing the game and calling it a day. Indeed, the Civil Rights Game is surrounded by more stuff than the All-Star Game usually is, albeit in a lower key way. Among them:
- A job fair aimed at minorities looking to land positions with MLB suppliers;
- A tribute to Hank Aaron, involving a red carpet event and screening of the Aaron documentary “Hank Aaron:Chasing the Dream”;
- A roundtable discussion about baseball and the civil rights movement, held at Ebenezer Baptist Church;
- A youth game/clinic attended by players;
- An awards banquet; and
- The actual game in which the Braves will destroy the Philadelphia Phillies
Good for Major League Baseball for making this an actual substantive event when it would be so easy to merely pander to the idea of civil rights, as is so often the case in the business world. Baseball’s history with civil rights is just as spotty as any other American institution’s, but it tends to really get this sort of thing right.
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.