Now that we are approaching mid-January with Spring Training merely weeks away, it appears the Braves might finally be closing in on a target to fill their outfield void.
ATL continues to be in discussions on OF A.J. Pollock, among other FA OF. If they got him, their lineup could look something like this, depending on where Acuna bats:— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 10, 2019
A.J. Pollock signing with the Braves would reunite him with Ender Inciarte, whom he played alongside in Arizona in 2014 and 2015.
Pollock was one of seven players who received a qualifying offer after the 2018 season; he declined and hit the open market. As the qualifying offer is tied to draft pick compensation, the Braves would have to sacrifice their third pick in the upcoming draft for signing Pollock. With today’s resolution on the Carter Stewart grievance, the Braves get to keep each of their first round picks (9th and 21st overall), and would now sacrifice their second round pick (approximately 62nd overall) instead of a third rounder. The Braves have previously stated they would not be deterred by draft pick compensation, so this could be merely a formality.
Pollock has long been a target of some Braves fans, and when healthy, it’s easy to see why. He carries a career .281/.338/.467 slash line, will put up 20 HR in a healthy season, and is a solid defender. Of this free agent class, he is second only to Bryce Harper in terms of outfield value.
Of course, any positives related to this signing would hinge on Pollock’s ability to stay healthy, as he has missed 49 and 50 games each of the last two years, and missed nearly all of 2016. Luckily, this is not one chronically recurring injury, but a smattering of other flukish injuries.
This report comes one week after MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported a possible union with Pollock would hinge upon his willingness to accept a deal of three year or less. If Pollock proves to be amenable to this deal, this could be a great move to solidify the outfield.