Though the Los Angeles Dodgers were regularly linked to Bryce Harper in free agency, the likelihood of signing the superstar outfielder appeared slim. Sure enough, the Dodgers pivoted and inked A.J. Pollock to a five-year contract and introduced him at 2019 FanFest.
He was touted as the club’s everyday center fielder and injury concerns were downplayed. Despite those assurances from Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts, Pollock missed more than two months after requiring elbow surgery because of an infection.
He swung the bat well upon returning but as the regular season wound to a close lived up to the billing of being a streaky hitter. Pollock then bottomed out in the postseason, going 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts while appearing in all five (three starts) Nationals League Division Series games.
It’s the most strikeouts all-time in a best-of-five DS.
“I had the worst four games that I got in there, of my life,” Pollock said from a somber Dodgers clubhouse after the team lost to the Washington Nationals in winner-take-all Game 5.
“There’s a lot of guys that would’ve wanted a couple things back. What are you going to do? We still had a chance to win it there. Just didn’t get it done. It hurts. There’s really nothing else. It just stinks.”
Throughout the season Pollock discussed on multiple occasions the challenges of growing accustomed to being part of a new team. Up to 2019 he’d spent his entire career with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, becoming close with teammates but Chase Field employees as well.
Even in the disappointment of defeat, Pollock could appreciate his first season with the Dodgers. “Just grateful for this organization,” he said. “It’s an amazing group of people, kind of a whirlwind of a year, a lot of ups, couple strange things personally.
“But having so many people get behind me was just awesome. I’m grateful, wish I could’ve done more to help this group. I was terrible in the postseason. We’ve just got to regroup, we have a good core here, so we have to look up.”