A.J. Pollock
Getty Images

Report: A.J. Pollock seeking five-year, $80-million deal in free agency

7 Comments

Free agent center fielder A.J. Pollock is up for grabs this offseason and Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the outfielder is asking for a deal in the five-year, $80-million range. While Nightengale adds that Pollock has attracted “plenty of interest” so far, no teams have been directly tied to him aside from the Astros.

Pollock, 30, wrapped his seventh season with the Diamondbacks in 2018 and voluntarily entered free agency after rejecting the club’s $17.9 million qualifying offer in November. Despite missing a significant chunk of the season with a fractured left thumb, the veteran outfielder finished the year with a respectable .257/.316/.484 batting line, career-best 21 home runs, 13 stolen bases and 2.5 fWAR across 460 plate appearances. He has yet to match the lofty career numbers he posted during his All-Star run in 2015, but still profiles as a solid defender in center field and an intriguing, if inconsistent contributor at the plate.

Even given his track record over the last few years, though, a five-year, $80-million deal (à la Lorenzo Cain‘s five-year, $80-million contract with the Brewers last winter) may be too steep a price to pay for an aging outfielder who has seen as many injuries — and as sharp of a decline — as Pollock has. Tack on the draft pick compensation due the Diamondbacks, and the price becomes not only steep, but exorbitant. By comparison, Cain inked his multi-year deal with Milwaukee following a much stronger campaign with the 2017 Royals, one that saw a .300 average, 25+ steals, and 4.3 fWAR from the 31-year-old center fielder.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
Getty Images
2 Comments

Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.